NHL Lockout alphabet, from A to Z


Hockey's ongoing labour wars are one of the biggest dramas in sports righ now. Unfortunately, they're beginning to resemble a Shakespearean drama, what with all that bewildering language, and we'd hate for you to miss anything just trying to follow the terms. For that reason, we've put together this helpful glossary.

<div id="page1">This crash course on the NHL lockout doubles as a valuable refresher course on the alphabet. You're welcome.</div>

This crash course on the NHL lockout doubles as a valuable refresher course on the alphabet. You're welcome.

Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, THE CANADIAN PRESS

<div id="page1">This crash course on the NHL lockout doubles as a valuable refresher course on the alphabet. You're welcome.</div>
A is for AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE, the developmental league where many of the NHL's top prospects are spending their time during the labour stoppage. The Oklahoma City Barons have become especially flush with NHL talent, as Edmonton Oilers' prospects such as Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle have turned the team into a powerhouse.
B is for BILL DALY, the current Deputy Commissioner and chief legal officer of the NHL. The league's second-in-command has gotten a lot of microphone time this lockout, which may have something to do with recent focus group results that indicated fans preferred hearing from him over Bettman.
C is for CATTLE, which is how Detroit Red Wings' VP Jim Devellano characterized the players in these negotiations. "The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle," he said, a comment that drew a $250,000 fine from the league.
D is for DONALD FEHR, the head of the NHL Players' Association. Prior to representing the NHL, Fehr represented the players' union in Major League Baseball for 23 years, including during the 1994-95 players'
E is for ESCROW, one of the key issues in the CBA negotiations. Escrow is the amount of money the players pay throughout the season based on an estimate of what hockey-related revenue will be at the end of it. Once the final HRR is known, if the money paid out to the players by the owners was more than their share, the difference comes out of the escrow account. If there is anything left, the players each get a cheque.
F is for FANS, but we'll skip them because this lockout has made it clear that they don't really matter.
H is for HOCKEY-RELATED REVENUE, which includes ticket money, broadcast money, merchandise sales and any other way the NHL brings in money. The primary issue during these negotiations is how much of it players are entitled to. Under the old CBA, the players were entitled to 57%. The owners are attempting to achieve a 50/50 split instead.
I is for INSURANCE. Because many of the players headed to other league are locked into expensive contracts and they risk career-ending injuries every time they step on the ice, they cost a boatload to insure. For players making a million dollars, it can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 per month. Sidney Crosby has proven especially difficult to insure, with some estimating it would take up to $400,000 a month.
J is for JEREMY JACOBS, the owner of the Boston Bruins, who is said to be a driving force behind this lockout. Jacobs is the head of the NHL's board of governors and is seen as a hard-liner who wants to see the players' share of the revenue pie reduced below 50-50.
K is for KONTINENTAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, the NHL's major competitor in Russia. The league has made changes to its rules to allow more NHL superstars to join teams during the lockout, hoping to attract more fans and eat into the NHL's market share. Players currently suiting up in the KHL include Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ilya Kovalchuk.
L is for LIFETIME CONTRACTS, an issue from the last CBA that the owners are hoping to cut off. Because a player's salary cap hit is the average annual salary over the length of the contract, teams were lowering cap hits by signing players for life, then tacking on cheap years after the players would, presumably, retire. The NHL has proposed maximum contract lengths of five years to close this loophole.
M is for MAKE WHOLE, a popular term during these discussions. If the players agree to have their share of revenue reduced, it will mean that they won't get the full amount to which their contracts entitle them. Thus, the idea of the owners "making them whole", or protecting the deals that are already signed, is a big talking point.
N is for NBC, who signed a 10-year, $2 billion deal with the NHL in April 2011, and now finds itself without any hockey games to broadcast. Plus, they'll still be paying the NHL for it, even if there are never any games. If the lockout wipes out the entire year, NBC still has to shell out $200M. On the bright side, they get a free year of broadcasting at the end of the deal.
O is for OVERSEAS, where many locked-out players have headed to keep the rust away during the lockout. Many European players have gone home to Russia, Finland, Sweden and the like, but some players have used the lockout as a chance to play hockey in unusual places like the Netherlands (Dale Weise) and Thailand (Johnny Oduya).
P is for PROSKAUER ROSE, the law firm whose offices were the secret site of last week's negotiations. Prior to advising the NHL on this current lockout, Proskauer Rose served as a consultant to the NBA and the NHL during their respective lockouts.
Q is for QUEBEC, whose labour laws the NHLPA attempted to exploit in a bid to get the lockout deemed illegal. The players that a lockout would violate the province's labour laws because the players association is not an accredited union in Quebec, but the labour board rejected their injunction.
R is for REVENUE SHARING, an issue the players are pushing during talks. The divide between rich and poor teams in the league has made it difficult for smaller-market teams to keep pace. The union has argued for increased revenue sharing, not unlike Major League Baseball has, so that those teams can remain competitive.
T is for TWO MONTHS, which is how much of the 2012-13 season has been canceled to date. The NHL has axed October and November, a total of
U is for UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENCY, the point in a player's career when the team that drafted him no longer retains his rights and he can go instead to the highest bidder on the free market. Under the old CBA, players became unrestricted free agents after 7 years in the league or at 27 years old. The NHL has proposed pushing this back to 8 years of service or 28 years old.
V is for VENDETTA, and not just because we wanted to make a comic book reference. One issue that appears to be slowing down progress is that the players have a vendetta against Bettman over the 2004-05 lockout, and are thus even more unwilling to make concessions to him this time around.
W is for WINTER CLASSIC. The NHL's signature game, held annually on New Year's Day, was cancelled on the 2nd of November. Michigan, the intended site of the game, has been promised the next Winter Classic.
Hopefully, that means 2013.
X is for XFL, which is about the class of league the NHL is showing itself to be right now. (Alternatively, "X" is for the syllable that a big chunk of the market will be putting in front of the phrase "hockey fan", according to @DownGoesBrown.)
Y is for Y'ALL SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE THIS OUT, President Obama's message to both the players and the owners, delivered during a visit to the Tonight Show. Unfortunately, that's all the intervention hockey fans are likely to get from the president, who has still never attended an NHL game.
Z is for ZERO, which is the total paid attendance for the 2012-13 NHL season, as well as how much sense this lockout really makes.
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