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November 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:56 PM)

OK cool cats, let's rock and roll lockout-style.Live from Toronto, it's chat time !

Chris (Atlanta)

One thing really confuses me about the PA's stance; the term. It's been written that the players are frustrated that the owner's always employ a lockout to get their way when a new CBA comes up for negotiation. It seems to me that if/when they finally get a new one hammered out they would want the term to be as long as possible to keep another lockout as far away as possible. Yet the PA is pushing for a shorter term than the league. What am I missing?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:00 PM)

Yes an under-reported part of this lockout for sure. NHLPA has constantly pushed for shorter term of CBA than the league. Essentially NHLPA position on this is to protect players in case system doesn't work out for them they have an ''out" sooner rather than later.Personally, I hope for a 20-year CBA so I never have to cover another lockout in my career :)

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will we see NHL Hockey for the 2012-2013 Season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:00 PM)

I still think we'll have a short season. But not as confident about that as I was two weeks ago.

Jake (MN)

Most of us thought the NHLPA's proposal last week was a big step since it cut the Financial gap more than in half and was based on the NHL's last proposal's structure...yet the NHL dismissed it it within 2 hours and didn't even counter. All they said was, "How can they expect our best offer to get better at this point". If that is there stance I don't understand why the NHL demanded (more or less) the NHLPA even make a new proposal last week? I would wager the majority of the Owners thought the proposal was better than they expected, yet nothing was done afterwards except cancel more games that cost more than the remaining gap. It seems as though Bettman/Jacobs are actively trying to prolong the lockout...which doesn't make sense for anyone, does it?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:01 PM)

Actually the NHL did counter that afternoon with a number of points.. but yes, I'm with you that I believe the NHLPA took a significant step with that proposal.Truth is, cut through all the b.s. and rehtoric, the two sides are actually close on framework. But politics may prevent them from taking that final step... hope not

Mark Grainda (Indiana)

What are the odds of the NHL actually playing this year at all? If they do, when?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:02 PM)

I don't do odds :)

Mike (Michigan)

If the season is canceled, and there is no new CBA by July 1st how would free agency work?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:02 PM)

Free agency does not return until there's a new CBA. The entire industry is frozen until there's a new CBA. No draft, no free agency, no nothing until this is resolved !

Peter (Toronto)

Is taking the 211 million the NHL offered the PA off the table a real possibility? And if that happens, is the season all but over?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:04 PM)

All I can tell you is that I'm told some hardline owners are pushing Bettman to take it off the table if there isn't a deal sooner rather than later.... God help us all if they do that

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, the lead mediator assigned to the NHL lockout George Cohen has a reputation for demanding long bargaining meetings that go until 3am until both sides show at least a concerted effort to make a deal. Well if that happens.....IT'S ABOUT D*MN TIME! Don't you think it would be wise for both sides to try this strategy....especially the league who to this point has behaved like spoiled bullies walking out of meetings after 5 minutes if they don't get their way (a PR disaster). And you know said meetings are not exactly held in the basement of the airport hilton and catered by McDonalds. For all of us fans with "real jobs," hopefully Cohen can remind both sides that it is their FULL-TIME JOB THAT THEY ARE PAID MILLIONS FOR to get this deal done and taking two weeks off and having five minute meetings is not acceptable.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:06 PM)

Yes I share your hope mediation goes long into the night or goes a few days at least... But I should clarify one thing for you: Cohen is not assigned to this case. Two other guys are from his office. Cohen can't do the case because a few years ago he sat on an NHLLPA advisory board

Bruce (New York)

I am curious as to why the Wings did not name a new captain over the summer when other teams had?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:08 PM)

Don't ever say I don't go the extra mile for you guys. I sent your question, Bruce, to Mike Babcock via text and here was his response:''We would normally do it at the start of training camp _ that was the plan and it still is."So once lockout is over and we have a camp, Wings will announce captain

Clark (Kansas)

What teams do you see signing players and making trades if there is a new deal before the new year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:12 PM)

I think Detroit and Toronto would be among more aggressive teams. However, because NHL has decided to allow teams to spend over the salary cap (up to $70.2 M) for first 12 months of the CBA, there won't be as much urgency for teams in cap trouble to dump any players. So that should minimize somewhat some of the trades that we would have seen otherwise

Howard (VA)

Hi Pierre - is the NHL going to cancel this season? What is your gut telling you? I am just at the point of having to go through 3 league shut downs in 20 years during the Bettman era of being in charge it just doesn't matter whether the NHL is back or not. If the league does cancel the season it will lose me as a fan for several seasons.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:15 PM)

Howard, you are not alone among fans in that sentiment. It's shameful what NHL fans are being put through again. Like I said earlier, I still think we'll have a season though

Jared (Nashville)

Will Pronger ever play again?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:16 PM)

Undetermined at this time. But if I had to guess, I'd say no. Which is too bad. One of the great warriors of our era. And a great guy

Chris (Denver)

The game's best active player is looking to play in Europe? I'm sorry Lebrun, but Pavel Datsyuk is already playing in the KHL.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:17 PM)

Haha, I've got lots of time the magician Pavel Datsyuk. Truly one of the most underrated superstars of our time

Werner (Baltimore)

Pierre, can you think of any goodwill gestures the NHL or its teams can provide for its fans once play resumes (this year or next year) ? Perhaps reduced prices on Centre Ice TV packages, reduced game ticket prices, rule changes (increased nets?) to facilitate higher goal totals, etc. Having the blue lines painted "Thank you, Fans" won't cut it.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:19 PM)

Here's what I would suggest: I would make every home opener for shortened season FREE to the public and make sure as many kids as possible get to the games.

Philippe (Laval)

Salut Pierre,When will the players realize that the 180M that is separating them from the NHL is the equivalent of less than 3 weeks in salary? Why won't the players just say: we accept the financial aspects of your offer as long as we keep all our player rights. Players will be winners because they get to keep their rights and will also be winners because they'd start making money in 2 weeks and get a 60 games season. Nothing they're arguing for is worth losing 1.8 billion in salaries (or 1.3 for a 60 games season).

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:20 PM)

Yes, the players should realize that, and so should the owners ! Both sides need to realize how little money separates them.But remember, not just Make Whole as an issue right now. Player contracting rights also huge issue

Bill (Boston)

What are the chances we see hockey? should I be optimistic? If there were hockey do you think the bruins have a good or great shot at the cup?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:20 PM)

yes B's will contend again

Cheapskates Jacobs (Boston)

What can i do to help this mediation thing go great and get a deal done? what can i do to get my fans back ? Should I lower beer prices ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:21 PM)

STAY AWAY FROM THE MEETING, ANY MEETING, FROM NOW ON

Gary Bettman (Lockoutville)

How can I get fans to stop booing me everywhere I go?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:21 PM)

Offer free beer to first 10 games of season

Ben (Boston, MA)

Can you give some insight into the owner's major issue with the "make-whole" provision in years 3 and/or 4 of the new CBA? Much has been made about the way contracts have been signed in the past and how they will be in the future, but it almost sounds like the owners don't trust themselves to be able to bring their new signings down to get to that 50-50 HRR split when all is said and done...so they want the players to pay for it?!?! Is there a possibility that this is some brushback from the owners thinking the players made out way too well in the previous CBA (which is probably true) and therefore will again unless they hold firm?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:23 PM)

Basically, most owners feel $211 M in make whole is most they can do

Christian (Miami)

Pierre, if there is a new CBA implemented, what teams will start fast and what teams will have a slow start? Hopefully the PENGUINS! Man, I miss hockey so much...

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:24 PM)

To me, teams that had fewest off-season changes will start fastest. instant chemistry. espy with short camp and no or almost no pre-season games...

matt (south jersey)

I have decided not to renew my season tickets. I think this is the only way to show my displeasure. That being said, is the fact that players are still signing in Europe a sign that they think that this thing ruins the season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:25 PM)

You aren't alone.As far as players going to Europe, that's just individual players making their own call, they haven't been told anything about not betting on a season or anything, they're just trying to get some hockey in in the meantime

Dan (Sacramento)

Hi Pierre,What's your guess on how long it will take before it all breaks down between the mediator and the NHLPA and NHL? I still think this lockout is still too broken for a mediator to help.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:25 PM)

I'm not optimistic. But I hope I'm wrong

Cody (Mankato, MN)

Hello Pierre, obviously we all want a season, but if there isn't can we expect a weighted draft like the Crosby sweepstakes? Quite the prospects to choose from this upcoming draft!

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:27 PM)

yes I would guess something similar

Eric (Current home of the Stanley Cup, Los Angeles, CA)

Should I start picking a SEL, KHL or AHL team, as my new team? Since it looks like I won't get to see a Championship banner raised, to replace the Symthe and Campbell ones that are reminders of failures (but makes the 1st LA chamopionship so much sweater), should I seriously be looking for a new championship team? Can you recommend one.Mora IK, for Kopi?ZSC Lions, for Brown?Help!??

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:28 PM)

Don't give up hope quite yet

Peter (Oakville)

Why are some saying it's the next couple of weeks or bust for solving the lockout? I thought people were saying mid to late January was the drop dead time.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:28 PM)

I guess because if things go bad again in this process players might go for de-certification and if they go for that option, kaboom

LeBrun James (Toronto)

I will just say that I am glad you have remained optimistic throughout this process and see a solution as still likely. It is not easy for the LeBruns and Mendez's of the world amidst all the pessimism. I hope you guys are right. (ps. how do you like the nickname?)

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:29 PM)

Haha, love it.And yes, I still think we'll have a season.

Said (Seattle)

Pierre, I know the season is cancelled through Mid December, do you by any chance think we MIGHT see some hockey later in December if by some miracle NHL and NHLPA reach an agreement? (I know I am being naively optimistic, but can't help it!) Or will the season most likely start after the year if an agreement is reached soon? Thanks.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:29 PM)

as I've said a few times already on this chat, yes I think there's still a reasonable chance for hockey this year

Bill (Vegas)

I understand that Bettman works for the owners. But being that he is universally dispised by players & fans. How can the NHL expect to regain trust from them

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:30 PM)

By making players lots of money again in next deal, haha

Joe (Texas)

I'm a new hockey fan (started watching during the 2010-2011 season because I was living in DC and all our other sports teams were horrible beyond reason; Go Caps!). I've fallen in love with the game these last two years, but this lockout is really killing my enthusiasm as it drags on. Do you have any words of encouragement for someone like me?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:31 PM)

so many young stars on the horizon (Seth Jones, Nathan McKinnon, etc) when game returns it'll be as great as ever to watch. Hang in there

Shawn (Charlottetown)

Hi Pierre. To a man (with apologies to Roman Hamrlik) the Players have been extolling the work of Donald Fehr saying how well informed they are during this lock out as compared to last. At the same time we see individual players lashing out with personal attacks / name calling / threats etc against Gary Bettman as if it is Gary alone that is the reason for the lockout and not the Owners. The players have to know what Gary's role is don't they? They have to know he is an adviser to and spokesperson for the owners only and not their pied piper. Don't they??? It's a paradox I can't explain. Can you?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:34 PM)

yes no question players rarely go after owners. Then again, can you blame them? :)

Mike (Raleigh)

Pierre-just curious how hockey contracts work. If the owners aren't going to honor the contracts as signed, why can't a player just say fine and void it and do what they want or sign where they want. Esentially the NHL almost wants to rewrite them all, so why should the players be bound by them then?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:41 PM)

Need to clear up an important misconception here. Players' contracts (SPC's) are always subject to terms of CBA. In other words, you're never guaranteed the money you sign for to 100 percent _ depends on parameters of CBA. So in last CBA, for example, because of escrow, players ended up making close to 97 percent of their contracts over those 7 years, not 100 percent.

Vinnie (San Jose)

Greetings from the Bay Area, Pierre! The longer the NHL's lockout goes on, the more it appears that this entire thing has been scripted from the start. Bettman has probably made promises on lower, fixed costs to keep the small market teams in line, promises to the larger market teams to host upcoming special events like the draft, All-Star game and Winter Classic. But I think the only way this makes financial sense is if he has promised everyone else large expansion/relocation fees for 2-4 teams in a new, idiot-proof NHL. What's the endgame to make this lockout a long term financial win for a majority of the owners?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:42 PM)

At this point, nobody is going to win no matter what the CBA looks like. Both owners and players have already lost thanks to long-term fallout/damage of this lockout. I strongly believe that

Erik Richard Unger (Smashville, TN)

It is good to see that mediation is finally taking place, but is it too little too late? If mediation fails, will there be any time for the players to gain some leverage with decertification?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:43 PM)

I mean, it's way earlier than last time ! Mediation didn't take place until February in the last lockout

Casey (Phx)

It's a great day here in the desert, regardless of the lockout!!! We are all ready for this to be over.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:44 PM)

yes, great news with city council in Glendale approving lease agreement with Greg Jamison.Now the final hurddle: Jamison proving he's got the $$$$ to complete the $170-M purchase from the league. Not everyone around hockey circles is convinced he's got the dough. I hope he does, one of my favorite stops on the circuit is Glendale.

Hank Scorpio (Globex)

Will we know anything from the meeting(s) today and perhaps the next few days?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:45 PM)

You might see a statement from both sides, but not much else according to both NHL and NHLPA

Sly Ethier (Ottawa, Canada)

Hey Pierre. Keep up the great work. As fans, are we the only ones that can see that both NHL and NHLPA are in a no-win situation and the longer they wait, the more they loose and the more damage they cause? Seems like a no-brainer to get this settled quickly now but to me, they act like two big kids who don't wanna loose face and as long as they don't loose the PR battle, the rest doesn't mean much...

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:45 PM)

You nailed it

Matt (Greensboro, NC)

Why would the reduction of the salary cap, mean that the reduction of salaries in contracts that have already been signed? Do players sign contracts to recieve "x" percent of the salary cap instead of based on a dollar amount? If they do sign dollar based contracts, how does the leagues proposals not void signed contracts with the reduction of player salary to something below the amount the contract was signed for? Sorry these things have been bugging me for weeks?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:46 PM)

They sign SPC's (Standard Players Contracts) that are subject to the terms and parameters of the CBA and the rules of that CBA. In other words, if CBA says PLayers Share is going down, then escrow will go up, etc...

Spencer (Penn)

EA simulation has the Isles as first in the Eastern Conference. Would they really have been that good?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:47 PM)

No

Bill (Toronto)

So am I the only one that supports Gary Bettman in all this? I think he's being unfairly vilified. He's the commissioner and he reports to the owners. The players are obviously looking out for their best interests while Bettman seems concerned about the overall health of the game and the league. He shouldn't be the bad guy in this equation.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:47 PM)

He gets paid handsomely to take the heat for his owners

Nick Lidstrom (Detroit)

Sitting out a year and having time to think about things and watching this lockout farce has re-energized me. Do I come back if it's a shortened season or even for one more full season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:48 PM)

No, you made the right decision. You retired with class and you retired still playing top of your game. Don't change the script !

George (NJ)

Hey pierre... i among many nhl fans are on the verge of suicide with this lockout. I love that you showed some fan tweets on your article a while ago and i hope we are out of the nhl drought asap. I love my new york rangers and i need to see them win that cup!!

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:48 PM)

If there is a season this year, my Cup finals pick: Rangers-BluesAnd Rangers winning it all :)

Anthony (NYC)

Pierre, what's your favorite defunct NHL logo? Nordiques, the whale, Seals, Atlanta Flames, Rockies? The St. Pats?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

Gotta be the Whalers :)

Alex (Anaheim)

Despite my growing despair, I still see hope that a deal will get done even from reporters like Larry Brooks. Do you still retain much optimism?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

Yup, I've been on record all along saying a deal will get done

ted (cape cod)

How long do you think these mediation talks will drag on for?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

No clue

Brad (Maine)

Is there anyway possible Gary Bettman is impeached if the season is lost?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:50 PM)

Well, he's not the President of the United States... haha

Chris Burnett (Victoria BC)

Hi Pierre! Big fan :)Have you heard any backlash from European or AHL players whos playing time has suffered because of all the NHL players filling their spots?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:50 PM)

no not yet

Justin (Philly)

Any chance Riley Sheahan is the next wings captain?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:51 PM)

Oye, LOL

locked out of seating (New Hampshire)

This is not a lockout question. I am a wheelchair using Boston fan who has trouble getting accessible seats. We are not allowed to order them directly through Ticketmaster without e-mail or speaking with a representative. We get charged loge prices for balcony seats, with no option for cheaper seats like other fans. Finally, getting tickets is hard because many of the seats are taken by people who don't need them and just want unobstructed views. What are the chances of overhauling and guaranteeing wheelchair seats? We have nowhere else to sit.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:52 PM)

I had no clue this was an issue. Thanks for bringing it up to my attention. I will look into this.

Frank (Buffalo)

Is it true that Bettman only needs eight approvals from owners to stay as commissioner? If so, why?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:55 PM)

Not quite. The way it works is that if owners want to vote in a deal that Bettman has not endorsed as commissioner, they need 23 votes out of 30 to get it done. So he needs 8 owners on his side to veto anything that he would not have endorsed.

Brett (Colorado )

Pierre. I first want to say that you do a great job. I always look for your tweets and stories. It is hard being a hockey fan with yet another lockout. The players and owners just don't care about the fans and they should because if it was not for us they would be fighting over nothing because there wouldn't be a league. I hate basketball and football is once a week. I have nothing to do now. I love hockey. I am a big Rangers fan and loved what they did last year and thought they would build on that with the addition of Nash. I thought they could win the cup this year. It is so frustrating that these idiots the Players and the NHL just have no idea what they are doing. Do you think we will see a short season this year? I don't because these people are idiots and can not agree on anything. They prolly just play monopoly in their "meetings". They are killing the greatest sport on earth. This comming from an American. Keep up the great work.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:55 PM)

Brett, thanks for the kind words and keep the faith my friend.

CP (Charlotte)

Only thing good about the lockout: seeing NHL talent at AHL prices. I went to see Oklahoma City Barons play here in Charlotte and the Baby Oilers have a pretty strong core of young talent. Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, and Hall on the same line was fun to watch as was Paajarvi. And the Schultz kid looks like he'll be a solid player.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:56 PM)

good for you, AHL hockey is a good bargain and a good product

Jonathan (Trois-Rivières)

Pierre, penses-tu que les proprios ont une date en tete et il n'y aura pas de hockey tant qu'on ne seras pas rendu a cette date?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:56 PM)

je pense pas qu'ils decider encore sur une date exacte... mais tant a mois c'est alentour de mid-janvier

George (NJ)

your awesome and give me hope. thanks for the interaction. NYR

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:57 PM)

Cheers

Jones (Toronto)

ESPN or TSN

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:58 PM)

I work for both :)

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:59 PM)

OK everyone, sorry for those I didn't respond to, long queue full of questions ! You guys were great once again. Hang in there, hockey fans. Still not over yet. Cheers and until next week