A Holiday Message From the Nations


 Well it hasn’t been the merriest of Christmas seasons this year has it? Instead of squeezing present shopping around Hockey Night in Canada or Battles of Alberta, we’ve had to put up with histrionic lawyers at press conferences, game cancellation announcements and endless debates about which side of the labor argument is more reprehensible.

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Not gonna lie, it’s been a tough slog here at the Nations. Trying to make a three month lock-out interesting on a day-to-day basis is kinda like analyzing the same bad Kevin Costner film over and over and over, each time looking for new and exciting ways to explain why it sucks.

Nevertheless, I want to take some time to thank all of our writers who have hung on tough through this seemingly endless dry spell and continue to put up worthwhile material. In addition, I’d especially like to thank all of our readers and commenters who come by day-in and day-out to challenge, cajole, laugh with, laugh at or share our stuff.

None of the teams we cover have played hockey since April (an 8 month gap), yet we still have heated comment strings and active debates. It speaks to the vibrancy and the passion of the hockey community which we have been able to tap into to a modest degree around here.

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I know the NHL hasn’t treated all of you well recently and it deserves your anger and contempt, but nevertheless we want to thank you for continuing to make this a place worth writing for (and reading).


As some of you may know, we used some of our free time recently to build shiny new facebook pages for most of the Nations sites (sorry Jets Nation. You’ll have to wait). Canucks Army are keeners so they’ve been ahead of the curve on this one, but now FlamesNation, OilersNation, LeafsNation and NHLNumbers can all be liked and shared and, uh, commented on and whatever else it is people do on facebook. 

As the pages grow and when there is actually hockey being played, we’ll figure out other things to do with the pages. For now, we’re feeding some article links through there and making albums of some favorite pics/photoshops. We have also heard from very eager sounding marketer types who tell us they can help us drive "user engagement" and " social interaction" and "other marketing buzzwords" for only tens of thousands of dollars, so maybe we’ll do that stuff down the road too. 

Anyways, check them out if you’re a facebook kind of person. BTW as a Flames fan, I’m glad to say FlamesNation’s page currently has more likes than OilersNation.


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I was recently contacted by a couple of professors out of the Ben-Gurion and Carnegie Mellon Universities who are studying people’s perceptions of labor disputes. They asked if we could post a link to their survey and in exchange would share some of their results with us when they are published in February.

So here it is. I took the survey myself yesterday and it only took about five minutes.

Make sure to read each question carefully though.


The NHLPA will probably announce that the players have voted in favor of their disclaimer of interest today. That means we’ll have more thrilling, edge of your seat legal filings and lawyer pissing matches in the media over the holidays and into the New Year. Yay.

Don’t let that ruin your holidays though. Take solace in your friends and family and the World Junior Hockey Championships (which we will try to cover when we aren’t drunk on rummy eggnog or asleep from a turkey gorge).

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Merry Christmas Nations Network. Here’s hoping we can start writing about actual hockey again real soon.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0


    i think it’s disgraceful how the fan is being treated by what appears to be yet another lost season, second one in 7 years….absolutely disgraceful!!! a big Christmas BOOOO to BOTH sides!! and Merry Christmas to everyone else!

  • Lofty

    I don’t understand why contract lengths is an issue for the NHLPA? Its still the same amount of money being paid to the players. I don’t see how shorter contracts hurt the NHLPA as a whole. It may affect an individual player from making lots of money when they’re no longer worth it but the people who deserve it would still pick up that money. The pie would stay the same size.

    Hell of a pass by the Nuge against the Finns. Saved ice and then floated the puck into open ice. Great vision.

    • book¡e

      Lofty, the reason is that it is closing a major hole in the cap system. The cap was negotiated in the last CBA but to a large degree is was circumvented. This CBA negotiation is about getting the cap system working the way it was intended to, IMHO.

    • supra steve

      Contract length can and has helped more players suck more $$ out of NHL teams. Look at Wade Redden’s situation. The Rangers spend to the cap, AND pay Redden his $6.5 million cap hit.

      TML fans may remember Jeff Finger’s $3.5 million, his pact was not 5 years+, but still a way for more players to suck more $$ out of the NHL then the cap would allow.

      The Sabres managed to spend pretty close to the cap last year, and how did Alex Kotalik and his $2.3mil cap hit fit in? They paid him to go away.

      The longer the deals, the more of these situations you are gonna see, and the more money NHL owners are spending on players (even if it doesn’t always count against the cap).

    • What is even more baffling is why the owners care. Jagr had a brilliant insight to this. Give the players whatever the hell they want on contract length. Hell 20 years if it means the players bend on something else. From there, just get all the owners on the same page and say right, as an unwritten rule amongst us, no GM (employed by the owners) shall be allowed to sign a player for more than five years.

      It’s the owners who have the power to determine contract length, even outside of a CBA, so why such a huge sticking point. It almost seems like they need to police their own GMs which is ludicrous.

      Seriously, when the deal was so close, why Bettman didn’t say fine we’ll give you contract length but you have to give us blank, then just back door the players on contract length.

      The only possible reason is so the owners can ding the current cap circumvention contracts, which belong to the players that are the most vocal about not losing any of their money. Hence the impasse.

      • supra steve

        The owners are their own worst enemy on this and several other points. If they don’t/can’t set a contract term limit in the new CBA, and no one ever gets a term longer then 5yr–how long will it take for the players to drag the owners into court on charges of collusion? A double top secret agreement among owners is fine, until you’re put on the witness stand with your hand on the new testament. At that point you are supposed to tell the truth, and if the truth is you colluded—you are really [email protected]#$%d.

      • SmellOfVictory

        That unwritten rule would be collusion and is illegal. Any rules of that nature are explicitly agreed upon by the owners have to be in the CBA somewhere. There’s the possibility that they could do it without getting sued/fined/etc. for it, but if anyone chose not to play by those unwritten rules they would have legal recourse against the other owners in the league.

      • Vintage Flame

        What is even more baffling is why the owners care. Jagr had a brilliant insight to this. Give the players whatever the hell they want on contract length. Hell 20 years if it means the players bend on something else. From there, just get all the owners on the same page and say right, as an unwritten rule amongst us, no GM (employed by the owners) shall be allowed to sign a player for more than five years.

        Aside from this being collusion, here is no way this group of owners could sustain such an internal deal.

        Inevitably when a huge free agent became available, one or more of the owners would break the agreement and sign the big contract. Then they’d be right back where they started.

        I’d also like to thank Kent, Jonathan and all the other writers for their work during the lockout. Despite no hockey, the Nation Networks remain the best sites out here.

  • TLHansum

    Ben-Gurion and Carnegie Mellon Universities survey makes little sense when their point distributions cant possibly add up to 100. So i answered my best, but still disturbing when university professors cant add up to 100.

    • Although we aren’t supposed to discuss the survey, I find it interesting that you assume ‘points’ should add up to 100. Do you find it difficult to continue counting smarties when you reach the highest number possible, i.e. 100?

      *Just some friendly natured ribbing. We all see what we want to see.

  • book¡e

    Why hasn’t the NHLPA released the results of the vote?

    I wonder if they are trying to figure out how to turn ~50% into 99.9% and add a phrase that elects Fehr NHLPA president for life.

    What I don’t understand is how the NHLPA found someone who is actually more annoying to see and listen to than Gary Bettman.

    Anyway, one would think that the NHLPA would announce the success of their vote pretty soon – unless they have discovered that the majority of NHL players (or at least 33% of them) couldn’t be bothered to vote for the measure. Lot’s of these guys come from Blue Collar backgrounds and can add up the losses they are sustaining so that the Crosby’s of the world can get 10 year contracts.

  • TLHansum

    it’s beeen a very merry christmas! thanks to the lockout i’ve been able save thousands of dollars and had more spare time. thanks to the nfl and chl i couldn’t care less wether the nhl ever plays again i’m starting to enjoy this!

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ^exactly my thoghts as well! plenty of NFL and CHL to go around. but the problem becomes once the NFL is over, you have just the CHL left….until baseball season.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0


    Thanks for soldiering on. Frankly, if it was not for the Nations and various other bloggers and tweeters I follow out there, I would have long ago totally disavowed any interest and stopped reading about it. The writers here continue to have an interesting perspective about things in which I have, at best, a lingering interest. I believe that even if you and others writers on here started writing about something else, or another hockey league, I might even change my allegiance as your coverage is frequently more deserving of patronage than the targets of your attention.

    Otherwise, I am on team “Blow it all the eff up and start again”.

    Interesting survey. I would be curious what individual players or owners would select as their preferences in the above scenario. I basically answered as I would if I was in either side’s position, but I may be more rational than others. It would appear at least one commenter on here cannot grasp the concept that there may be more than 100 of anything, ever.

    Merry Christmas.

  • supra steve

    GIANT props to ON and the other Nations at this point for still fighting the good fight. For the KHL updates, the charitable causes, the humor in the face of despair. Keep writing, guys. I’m furious at the league and the players, but supporting your sponsors and reading these posts will keep us all moving forward to actual hockey someday.

  • Is it just me, or do others out here pine for the days of Bob Goodenow? My memory isn’t what it used to be, but seems to me the last lockout was more ‘fun’

    Happy Holidays to the Nations and all its contributors

  • book¡e

    Note to everyone, if you don’t understand that the entire purpose of the CBA is for the owners to police themselves, then you do not comprehend anything about the process and should stop talking.

  • This is my favorite destination for Oiler Hockey.
    Informative and entertaining for sure, and you dont always have to be dead serious.
    Keep up the good work.[ PS.. and no pay-wall]

    Season Greetings to All.