Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NHL writer Pierre LeBrun will stop by to chat about the latest news from around the NHL.
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular contributor to TSN in Canada.
Send your questions now and join LeBrun Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (12:57 PM)
Greetings hockey fans, let's get it on
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the NHL will get a Deal done before the 2012-2013 season gets Cancelled?
Pierre LeBrun (12:57 PM)
Over/under date on when the season starts in your mind?
Pierre LeBrun (12:58 PM)
I've been saying all along late November agreement, mid-December puck drop. While the NHLPA has some serious issues with NHL offer presented yesterday, it still was a significant step in the process. Now I'm thinking there's a chance for November puck drop. It will greatly depend on NHLPA's counter Thursday
G (Washington DC)
I'll get straight to the point Pierre: Do you think the players are going to take the deal/do you think we'll drop the puck on the 2nd?
Pierre LeBrun (12:58 PM)
No they're not taking this deal. but they will counter from it. Hopefully that give/take process leads to a new CBA soon. We shall see
I'm not a stalker (I promise), but what part of Toronto do you live in?
Pierre LeBrun (12:59 PM)
Hi, I don't think this is a good deal for the players and I bet they say no thank you, but will they counter? I don/t thin the NHLPA will counter, and this is going to drag on, do you think it will drag on, into November? I am a season ticket holder in Boston, who still gets a monthly bill for a season that may not happen.
Pierre LeBrun (1:00 PM)
They will counter for sure.
Bill (Pasadena, CA)
Hi Pierre,Tell me, with this new proposal is there legitimate hope for a full season? Can I finally go to Staples and watch the Stanley Cup banner be hung on the wall? Your thoughts? Thanks.
Pierre LeBrun (1:00 PM)
Tomorrow is key is finding that out. Will players' counter be reasonable?
If a deal is reached which teams do you see making any moves with trades, if any?
Pierre LeBrun (1:03 PM)
Not sure there's as much of an onus now to make trades right away. Stipulation in league offer Tuesday allows teams to go over $59.9 million salary cap for this season all the way up to $70.2 million for Year 1....
Pierre LeBrun (1:03 PM)
Hold on _ on the phone with an agent. be back in 2 min
Everybody keeps saying the PR battle has little to no impact on the CBA negotiation, but after seeing the Leagues offer I would have to disagree entirely. After Don Fehr sent his email that only mentioned the low ends of the proposal I noticed several fans immediately scream to just sign it and get it over with. This was a genius move by Bettman (and perfect timing)...he gave hope for an 82 game season and if there isn't one almost everybody will now blame the Players. The Players don't handle fan criticism near as well as the Owner's, so if they don't make this one work they will eventually give in to an even lesser deal in the future.
Pierre LeBrun (1:07 PM)
Yes agreed that PR-wise, league has had a good 24 hours But whether or not that produces what ultimately matters _ a new deal _ that remains to be seen.
Will the NHL's decision to post/publish their offer AND the explanation have a dramatic impact on the NHLPA's counter-proposal? When listening to Gary Bettman talk about this offer I had the distinct impression that this was the "best" offer they could come up with. That leaves me to believe they're not willing to negotiate very far from it.
Pierre LeBrun (1:09 PM)
My belief is that while the league doesn't have a great appetite to give much more, there is still some wiggle room on some items and of course the league expected the NHLPA to come back with a counter that moved the needle more towards the players... The question is, will the players move it too far for the owners' liking? Next few days are huge
So one month into the lockout, the NHL finally makes a serious offer which include a players percentage decrease of 7% which works out to about a 13% total player salary decrease. Since everyone knows the players % will go down, the only question being how much and how fast, I find it very calculated by the league to make this proposal now. Quick math tells you that if the players don't sign a deal soon and lose even a month of the regular season, they'll lose more money than they would if they negotiate a slightly higher % down the road. For all their posturing, the NHL didn't want to negotiate until now when they have the leverage of forcing players to lose money. If they had put forward this offer in July, we'd be talking hockey not CBA.
Pierre LeBrun (1:12 PM)
yes no surprise at all at timing
Matt (Los Angeles)
Come on - give some love to my Coyotes. They have the best blue line in the NHL, Mike Smith in goal and some of the best prospects offensively and defensively that are NHL ready. Stir in a little Dave Tippett, Shane Doan and a much improved power play with Steve Sullivan and we are one of the main Stanley Cup contenders this season. Agree?
Pierre LeBrun (1:15 PM)
love given !
Yngve Husdal (Washington DC)
Fehrs letter to the players seemed really negative. What do you make of it? Do you think we'll see the puck drop the 2nd of November?
Pierre LeBrun (1:16 PM)
He's being cautious. Wants to treat NHL offer as starting point in talks, not finishing point
Pierre LeBrun (1:20 PM)
on phone with GM, back in 1 min sorry
Being a Canadian, living without the NHL makes for long winters. My question is why does Bettman continue to support failing hockey cities. This great game can be world wide in cities who embrace it (not just in North America) do you believe that the struggling teams is the main reason for two lockouts in the past decade? And why does Bettman continue to keep teams in cities like Phoenix, who continue to show no support?
Pierre LeBrun (1:23 PM)
I will say this about Phoenix: I'd like to see how the Coyotes do with stable ownership. Look at San Jose: for years and years and years, a competitive team with stable ownership and great management. People take for granted how successful that market is, but in reality it's no real different a market than Phoenix....
Pierre - fingers crossed that we see hockey in the next few weeks. Is realignment one of the smaller issues that needs to be worked out seeing as the NHLPA shot it down last year?
Pierre LeBrun (1:29 PM)
In NHL's original offer, league asked to get full control over matters such as playoff format, divisional alignment, etc. NHLPA wasn't impressed. There was no mention of it as far as I can tell in yesterday's offer so that remains to be negotiated
Pierre, good stuff always related to the lockout and the NHL. Two questions. One, when will Opening Night be in the NHL with possible big games such as Chicago vs Detroit New York vs Boston etc. Two, who is your Cup Finals prediction. The Blackhawks have a good chance if Crawford and the D can hold their own like 2010
Pierre LeBrun (1:30 PM)
Thanks Ryan. League is hoping for Nov. 2 start if a CBA can be ironed out ASAPCup prediction? You'll have to wait until our season preview package finally gets released once the lockout is over :)
JOEY NO-NO (LA LA LAND)
As much as I want to ask a non-lockout question, I just can't help it. On a scale of 1-10 where 10 is highly optimistic and 1 is not optimistic at all, where should I peg myself on the season starting 11/2/12?
Pierre LeBrun (1:31 PM)
Pierre, I am being very optimistic now after the shocking events from yesterday thinking that we could possibly have a full season of hockey today when 24 hours ago I really thought that there would be no season at all. Based on the proposal and where it will go from here what do you put the chances that we start the season on the proposed Nov 2nd date at? If not this day then when do you think we'll see hockey start? I am being optimistic thinking that we could possibly have a full season of hockey today when 24 hours ago I really thought that there would be no season at all.
Pierre LeBrun (1:32 PM)
Not sure about a full season. NHLPA will have several things it will want to change to its favor in its counter-proposal. If NHLPA pushes too far in counter demands, owners might lose it and we go into deep freeze.... Tomorrow is huge
I just recently moved from Texas, where there is basically no hockey presence, to hockey-crazy Montreal just in time for the lockout....talk about irony. What do you think the odds are that I will get to experience a full season of hockey in this great city this year?
Pierre LeBrun (1:33 PM)
Well at least you went from one iconic franchise in the Dallas Cowboys to another in the Montreal Canadiens. (I'm a Cowboys fan :) ) There will be hockey this season. Just not sure it will be a full season
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Pierre, last week I brought up Gretz getting sat down for the shootout in the 1998 Olympics. Still a great game. What is your list of the greatest hockey games you have ever watched live....either in the arena or live on TV....even going back to when you were a kid. My list goes like this....Canada-Czech 1998 Olympic Semis, NYR-NJD Game 7 1994 ECF, Pitt-Det Game 7 2009 SCF, USA-Canada Game 3 1996 World Cup, USA-Canada 2010 Olympics Gold Medal, Pitt-Det Game 5 2008 SCF. Since I am younger than you, the Miracle on Ice, Miracle on Manchester, 1987 Canada Cup and 1972 Summit Series all pre-date me.
Pierre LeBrun (1:37 PM)
Most memorable games I've covered in person as a journalist:1995 Patrick Roy's first game for Avs after Habs trade in Toronto1997 Yzerman in OT over Jon Casey2000 men's IIHF world championship, little Latvia stunds NHL star-studded squad host team Russia _ in St. Petersburg Russia. Was incredible to be there, Latvian players crying (political history there)2002 Olympic quarter-final, Belarus upsets Sweden2002 Olympic gold medal game2006 Olympic gold medal game2010 Olympic gold medal game 2010 Game 7 Chicago at Vancouver _ Canucks win in OT. unbelievable game, maybe best playoff game I've ever coveredplus a million other games, that was just a list from top of my head
Timmy G. (Clovis)
So Pierre, what are your sources telling you about the players reactions to the new proposal? Is there truly some optimism to be had here? I'm trying to not get my hopes up, but 50/50 always seemed like what it was going to have to end up at and I feel like most of the concessions the PA would have to make in this proposal are already here. Sure it's worse than the players used to have, but at least they still get paid and we still get hockey. Perhaps, this is when we find out if the players do really want to play.
Pierre LeBrun (1:38 PM)
General reaction from players I've spoken to is that it's a good start. But deal must still change
any chance if this doesnt work the league looks to replacement players? clearly now in terms of public opinion the players would be the 'bad guys'
Pierre LeBrun (1:39 PM)
Highly highly doubt it
Marc (Malden, MA)
If the HRR is indeed the same as last CBA, does the NHLPA have any legit reasons to be upset by this offer?
Pierre LeBrun (1:39 PM)
well they may still not like the ''mechanism" the league has introduced to make players ''whole" in opening few years of CBA (deferred payments, etc.)
If all goes well and an 82-game season is reached (fingers crossed), do you think we'd see a permanent change to scheduling to keep this many games in this timeframe? More games per week, keep interest higher, slightly shorter season length, abbreviated pre-season?
Pierre LeBrun (1:40 PM)
No, this is far from ideal. Players want more time off between games, not less. Safety.
Phil (Long Island)
If this deal does go through, what kind of moves should we expect as teams prepare for the season? Would Luongo get moved? Etc....
Pierre LeBrun (1:40 PM)
yes I suspect Luongo would be one of the first trades...
Did Fehr's letter to the players dash every fan's hopes, or is he just talking tough en route to a compromise?
Pierre LeBrun (1:40 PM)
My guess is that he's talking tough but hopeful of negotiating new deal
SuperFoxes (Oakville, Ontario)
The only way this will be acceptable to the players is a % reducing agreement. Something like 53.5% in the first year reducing by 0.5% a year until it reaches 50%. Also HRR stays the same. Are your thoughts close to this.
Pierre LeBrun (1:44 PM)
Um, I think someone wrote that recently :)
If I were a NHL player, at this point I'd be telling the Fehrs to get a deal done by Oct 25. This is a great starting point, do your job and get us the best offer possible.
Pierre LeBrun (1:45 PM)
hopefully that's what players are saying behind closed doors ! For sure if I'm a player, I want an 82-game season so I get paid in full
The NHL's offer seemed to good to be true and today, we've seen that it isn't as fair as it originally sounded yesterday. To me, the biggest sticking point for the PA is the "Make Whole" provision that in Don's words "...is players paying players, not owners paying players." How would this work if accepted and do you see the PA agreeing to a some sort of version of this provision?
Pierre LeBrun (1:49 PM)
As I wrote in my blog today _ http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/19813/nhl-season-hangs-on-unions-response _ i believe the ''make whole" mechanism is the biggest point of debate for sure. My sense is NHLPA would much rather with higher HRR percentage instead and keep it safer that way. We shall see
Why is it that the players feel they deserve so much more than the 50%? I mean, they say they want a fair deal, what's more fair than a 50/50 split?
Pierre LeBrun (1:50 PM)
I believe the players are fine with 50/50 split as long as the formula at the beginning of the CBA doesn't erode the salaries and moneys they've already agreed to in current contracts. Personally, I think that's fair
Pierre - Bettman played Fehr badly. The NHLPA drug their feet, the NHL released a new proposal that shifted a whole 1%, and now public favor swung to the owners. What was Fehr's strategy? I think he was caught with his pants down.
Pierre LeBrun (1:51 PM)
not sure if it's that dramatic, after all, we haven't seen NHLPA's counter yet, but I will agree by making the first move after a month-long standoff, NHL swung public opinion in its favor. Real pressure on union now to act
Retaining arbitration while increasing FA service to a lesser degree don't seem like "concessions". What have the owners actually given up thus far?
Pierre LeBrun (1:53 PM)
well, it was never about the owners really giving up anything. The NBA reduced players from 57 percent to 50 percent. That was the premise all along that NHL owners would go for the same type of scaleback. The players know this. so trick for NHLPA is to get best deal possible within the framework of realizing that the industry standard set by recent NBA and NFL deals scaled players back
I understand that the players don't want to take a salary decrease, but a 50/50 split is more in line with the other major pro leagues. Also, I'd personally love to take 50% of of my companies revenue, as I am sure would most of all other working people in this world. I understand that the players are needed to have a league, but in the grand scheme of things, there are many players out there ready to replace the current ones and only a handful of owners with enough money to actually own and run teams. The players need to realize that in the end they are just like the rest of us - employees, who are interchangeable and replaceable. Let's get a deal done and start playing some games.
Pierre LeBrun (1:54 PM)
You make some excellent points but I would argue this vs your theory that players are just like normal employees of any company. Would you pay $350 to go watch my buddy make photocopies at his government job?yeah, didn't think so. Hollywood actors make lots of money for a reason. Same for pro athletes.
Hey Pierre, thanks for doing this as always. Not slamming the players here, but just curious - assuming the numbers are true that the players would lose approximately 500-600 billion over the course of this 6 year deal, and would lose the same amount if they missed about 40% of this season, why not make a real effort to get a deal done close to 50-50 (maybe they will, who knows)? Especially considering after the last lockout, many of the players said it wasn't worth the lost salary. Just curious on your take as to why this comparison isn't brought up as much (lost money in deal vs half/full season)?
Pierre LeBrun (1:55 PM)
Agreed _ if I'm Fehr and the players, I make best deal possible in next 2 weeks and live with it. But it's easy for me to say since I don't have a stake in it
Gerald Diduck (Vancouver)
Do you think if their was a secret ballot vote with some minor tweaking on this offer that the majority of players would accept? Do you think they will have take a vote?
Pierre LeBrun (1:57 PM)
It would take more than minor tweaking. But with some genuine tweaking, some good-faight back and forth over the next week to 10 days, there's a deal to be head based on yesterday's offer
B (Storrs, CT)
Most underrated team in the NHL?
Pierre LeBrun (1:58 PM)
Cody (Mankato, MN)
Hello Pierre, obviously the players are going to counter and then the NHL owners are too proud to "concede" so they will counter the counter, what is the deadline for the NHL and PA to get the deal done for the Nov. 2nd start?
Pierre LeBrun (1:59 PM)
Bettman said yesterday they had about 9-10 days to get this deal done
Jonathan Schepper (Detroit, Michigan )
What are the chances the lockout is over by Thursday night?
Pierre LeBrun (2:00 PM)
zero this is going to take some give and take over next 1-2 weeks if there's any chance
Pierre LeBrun (2:01 PM)
OK folks, sorry for all those I didn't get to. Lots of you on the chat today which we're grateful for. Until next week and thanks for stopping by. Stay classy San Diego