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December 7, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:03 AM)

Good morning hockey fans, greetings from NYC

Tim Irvin (Los Angeles)

Pierre, assuming that the NHL is going to play again someday (remember, according to the Mayan's, all of our days may be numbered) would not a new collective barganning agreement provide some form of "Cost Certanty" and stimulate expansion to Toronto II, Quebec City, and Seattle? Keep the faith, brother...This too shall pass!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:05 AM)

Yes my sense is that at least two of those markets will get teams in the next 10 years

one angry fan (usa)

First off- most NHL fans SUCK! They are too stupid to see past their self-important fan B.S and are too quick to blame Bettman for the lockout. Bettman's loyalty lies with the owners and if they decide that the current state of affairs is better than the offers from the NHLPA (which apparently is the case)- they choose to not have a season. Pro-sport unions are corrupt, they have no business existing for their purpose is not to provide its members (players) with basic necessities (which is why unions came to be in the first place), but to make sure that the players' pockets are stuffed to the fullest. Teams don't always make money, in fact, most teams LOST money last year, but that's not true for the players, who ALWAYS have a paycheck. I couldn't care LESS about how much the players "gave up" last time around because they still make millions of dollars while most of the common folks are struggling. Owners are acting out of necessity, while the players- out of greed. Unions most definitely have a place in this world, but in no way is that place in pro sports. I WANT a lockout, I WANT the players to see how lucky they are to be in the privileged position of being able to do what they love and make a ton of money, for I can tell they take it for granted...

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:06 AM)

The players know how lucky they are, believe me. They just want to make a fair deal with owners. Whether or not the players made a mistake playing this out past this week, we shall see. Tough to predict

ben (minnesota)

Would the contracts signed before the lockout be null and void

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:07 AM)

nope, all contracts will be honored.However, if there's no season this year, any player who had one year left on his deal will be UFA

Barry (NE PA)

Good morning Pierre. First off great job on the coverage of this mess. After watching the pressers unfold last night I find it obvious the Don Fehr has become the bad guy. He was told "dont touch" these 3 dealbreakers, and he does exactly what he knew would blow the whole thing up. But even worse he comes out and says we are close to a deal. Public opinion has definately swung to the owners. In you opinion, if the union comes back in the next few days and changes their stance on the 3 points would the owners put the make whole and everything else backon the table? If not maybe you can get some sleep. Thanks

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:11 AM)

yes despite what the league said, I think all those elements are still on the table if the NHLPA wants to make a deal soon enough. They were taken ''off the table" for effect, to send a message and get a reaction from the players

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Does the NFL Players Association want to Cancel the Season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:13 AM)

no

dan (mn)

Thought I would jump on here early and get this over with. After what happened yesterday, I am done...cancelling season tickets...etc. Time to get out of this abusive relationship. NHL and NHLPA both at fault. Don Feher has a sword in the collective butt of the NHLPA and is marching them down the gang plank...and they do not see it.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:15 AM)

Can't blame you. Honestly. It is absolutely ridiculous that both sides weren't able to close the deal this week. Seriously

Howard (VA)

Pierre I have had it with the NHL. They have trashed the league and it is dead to me. I am just putting anything I own that has anything to do with the NHL in a box and sealing it for at least 5 years. I realize in negotiations these things happen (look back 18 months to the NFL labor talks) - a deal will get struck by Monday or Tuesday of next week but it just doesn't matter. I simply don't care anymore.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:16 AM)

Again, don't blame you sir

So damn frustrated (Everywhere North America)

Pierre Im confused on the contract length thing. The unions original proposal had the length of the CBA at 5 years. The owners want contracts capped at 5 years. Why would Fehr want contracts to exceed the lenght of the CBA he proposed? This is the sort of studpity that has us in the boat. I personally was on no side in this until last night. I fear Fehr is personally killing the game. Thanks

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:17 AM)

I think the players will eventually give in on CBA length. It's just not that really important to them in the end.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:18 AM)

Got my Itunes going and first song to play on my shuffle? Paraside City by GNR.Yes guy.

Bill (Boston)

Hearing the press conferances last night it seems like the blame shifted for mthe most despised Jeremy Jacobs to Don Fehr. Am i correct to believe that maybe the players are askign for too much now? That their oppurtunity to make a deal has left because Fehr had to keep pushing ??

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:19 AM)

I will admit that I think the players should have taken most of what was offered Wednesday night, maybe tweek either contract length or variance and see if the league could live with it.But yes, a deal should have been done by now.

Cheapskates Jacobs (Boston)

See I told you I wouldn't ruin talks it was Don Fehr all along ! Do you think we can make a deal now that the Make Whole is off the table ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:19 AM)

The Make Whole will return

Dan (Boston)

All things considered even if Bettman won't admit it there is a deadline. After a certain point we can't have hockey this year. Any guesses on what that date is? And then is there any chance we can get a giant countdown on the side of ESPN?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:20 AM)

My guess is mid-January. But it's just a guess

Ryan (Metropolis of Trenton, NJ)

Pierre,Thanks for the continuing, arduous coverage of the lockout...and i'm sorry, by the waySo obviously the latest Bettman tactic is to push the players to a point of critical mass within days - if not hours - where they order Fehr to close it. Can things like "not giving the next generation of players a say" - who are 14 right now and wouldnt even qualify for free agency by the time a 10 year deal expires - actually keep the union solidly behind the holdout? The contracting rules are tough to swallow - but isn't there a potential that players may actually benefit by receiving 2 big AV contracts instead of 1.5 via a long back diving one?hang in there...

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:21 AM)

As I said Ryan, I truly believe the length of the CBA is a non-issue in the end. No way the players would be willing to walk the plank just for that issue

mark (chicago)

idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots idiots

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:21 AM)

You have spoken

Matt (VA)

Gut opinion will we have a NHL season this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:21 AM)

Yes

Janet (Greensburg, PA)

If the league did, in fact, tell the PA that there would be no deal with Donald Fehr in the room as has been reported, does this give the PA ammunition to use in a possible court battle? Could they argue that the NHL is refusing to bargain with the player's chosen representative?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:23 AM)

Interesting point, Janet. But in the end, the league still met with the union despite Don being int he room

matthew (philadelphia)

Pierre, you sounded a little agitated last night on twitter as this all broke. What are your honest opinions on yesterdays events, and where do they go from here? Is all hope lost?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:25 AM)

I think they get a deal done within next 2 weeks, but I'm still angry at how it all broke down yesterday. So stupid. Stay in the room and get it done.

Paul Im (Scarsdale)

5 year contracts might actually increase the free agent market. Before the lockout there were plenty of owners with their wallets out. More movement could drive prices up. Do you agree?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:26 AM)

Perhaps, but it would control bad spending on players you regret giving long-term deals to. And of course, it would nullify back-diving deals which is the real point the league wants to do this

Paul Im (Scarsdale)

Your coverage of the lockout has been top notch. Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:26 AM)

Merci

Jake (MN)

If the last 48 hours has proved anything, it is that BOTH Bettman and Fehr need to be permanently removed in order for a deal to get done. They were at a point where there really wasn't anything left to even negotiate, yet they both decided to continue their childish game. They both need to have the last word and that is why a deal will never get done until both are completely removed from the process.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:27 AM)

I still think a deal gets done within next 2 weeks. But yes, I'm tired of the games as well

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:28 AM)

Classic song now playing, Signs, Signs from Tesla. Which is actually a remake of the same song from a Canadian band I believe called Five-Man Acoustical Band

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:29 AM)

sorry it was Five Man Electrical Band

tim (st pete)

Why would the players lose the season over contracts over 5 years that only a small percentage of players would ever get and over an additonal 2 years in the length of the agreement? Fehr over played his hand wanting to win instead of getting a deal.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:29 AM)

I'm not sure why the issue is worth losing a season for EITHER side. Sheesh

The Gazelle (Phoenix, AZ)

Hi Pierre, great reporting from you as always. Saw you on TSN - good stuff. So, since the NHL is going to slowly fade into irrelevance on the US sporting landscape (thanks, MR. Bettman!), due to another completely avoidable lost season - yes, it will happen - when will the players wake up and just start their own league? The Owners are simply not that important. They are a utility - they provide the money. But they are not what people pay to see, are easily replaceable (honestly, communities could just buy teams at this point, since they front all the money for stadiums these days), and they have hired the worst commissioner in North American sports history. This is undeniable - 3 lockouts? AT LEAST one lost season? Ridiculous. Since you are in contact with players, please tell them to just walk away from the NHL, start their own league, and we will be fine. Looking forward to hockey in 2013/2014!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:30 AM)

Tough to start your own league when all the top rinks in North America are mostly owned or leased to NHL owners

Joseph Ritter (Valdosta, Ga)

I am huge fan of the Penguins and Hockey! I really didn't know who to blame for this lockout, at first I thought it was the owners. But after what has happen in the past few days, it seems to me that it is the players. First for hiring the man that ruined baseball, and two for allowing the Fehr's to ruin what progress was made this week. I guess what my questions is, do you see there possibly being a rift among players for their support of the Fehr's in all this. Especially among the lower teir palyers?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:30 AM)

Plenty of blame for BOTH sides

Joe (DC)

If the current season is eventually canceled, what prevents the players and owners from an impasse that goes until next season? What options do the owners have after this season is canceled, and what options do the players have (decertification, etc.) after this season is canceled? Thanks!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:32 AM)

De-certification is an option seriously being considered by the union. So that would be like a nuclear bomb.And yes, this could go into next season if there's no hockey this year because once this season is cancelled, both sides lose the urgency to get something done as soon as possible. To wit, in the last lockout, they didn't get a deal done until June/July and the draft was pushed to August because of it

Cody (Mankato, MN)

Hello Pierre, I know you were one of the few optimists left. What is your optimism level at this moment? Do you think there is still that last sliver of hope left that hockey could be back by Xmas?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:32 AM)

Hockey by Jan. 1

Chatardio (Chatopia)

Should Markham, Hamilton, Halifax, Quebec City, Milwaukee, Seattle, Las Vegas, Portland, Houston, and Kansas City say the heck with the NHL and NHLPA, and start their own top notch professional hockey league?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:33 AM)

sure, I could cover hockey again if that were to happen :)

Dave (Kansas)

Hey Pierre. These 21st century negotiations sure are rough, with access to the play-by-play on Twitter and live feeds of Bettman and Fehr posturing for the media. Disappointment for not getting a deal done aside, you have to assume they will be able to get a deal done to save the season considering how close they are, as it just wouldn't make sense to lose a season over the differences between offers. The sad thing is it's taken almost half of the season for the owners and players to feel enough pressure to get this close to an agreement. I hope that there IS damage done to the NHL brand and some fans and sponsors just walk away. When the league and PA start to associate work stoppages with long term financial losses, maybe then there will be another negotiation strategy than use of lockouts (or strikes). Isn't that how Fehr got labor peace in baseball?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:33 AM)

well you got your wish, because there is already serious damage, regardless of if they get a deal or not done

Tod (Detroit)

I was almost convinced that this thing would have happened, and we'd be planning on some hockey soon. Silly me. Anyways, do you think that it's possible that if one of the sides turned around in the next day or two and said okay, we'll accept this, or throw a counter in, that those items "removed from the table" could still be in play? Unfortunately studying Architecture doesn't help me much with reading what each side is really trying to do, but I just don't understand how something can be completely off the table when the whole point of the discussions is to make an 'agreement'. Is this just a kick in the behind to get the NHLPA to re-consider/make another 'better' offer, or is it truly another case of 1 step forward, 3000 steps back?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:35 AM)

I think they're close. League pulling the offer I think was to send players a jolt and make them put pressure on Fehr to close the deal

Andy (Oklahoma)

Pierre - How can Commissioner Bettman say, "You know what my magic date was? October 11, when we should've started the season," when the league is locking out the players? Didn't the union offer to play the season with the current CBA and negiotiate a new one while playing?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:36 AM)

yes the players did offer that.

Mike D. (Rochester)

Morning Pierre, how was that steak last night?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:36 AM)

Mmmmmmm

Andy (Lynchburg VA)

Pierre,Don't you think it would be in the players best interests to put the ideas/issues on the table to a vote?I mean, they got their make whole $, they kept FA and arbitration rights etc. Are they seriously going to toss away the season so that a FEW marquee players like Crosby etc. can sign 10 year + deals?I mean it's not the Parros'/Westgarth's etc. that are going to be worried about signing for 10 years or more.If they lose the season, there's no way they'll get anywhere close to their $ back, and/or be guaranteed a deal that's better than this in the first place.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:37 AM)

There are some players who would like that, but to be fair I think they should only vote once they're a full official proposal on the table

Ethan (Rochester)

As fans, how can we show our discontent and is there anything we can do so that this doesn't happen again? This lockout is absurd!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:38 AM)

It is indeed soul-sucking to say the least

Ernest (Montreal)

Hi Pierre, Allan Walsh mentioned on Twitter last night that he thinks if the owners accept the players' proposal of 8 years max for length of contract we would already have a deal, do you think this assessment is accurate, that the players will sign off on the league's proposal even with the other elements in place, like the 10 years length for the CBA?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:38 AM)

possible, but neither side has told me that

Andy (Lynchburg VA)

Am I the only one who feels that the NHL would have been better off to say in August, "Either we have a deal done by opening night or the season is lost...and we're not bluffing."At least then we (the fans) wouldn't have to put up with this roller-coaster ride of "negotiations" over how to split up the BILLIONS of $.Personally at this point I wish either Fehr or Bettman would say "We either get it done by 12/15 (for example) or we're done for the year." Then maybe people would actually get serious.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:39 AM)

agreed

Mike (SJ)

*#$%!!!!!

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:39 AM)

well said

Mike (SJ)

Did it really fall apart over max contract length (5 years (NHL) vs 8 (PA)) and CBA length (10 years (NHL) vs 8 (NHLPA))? Really? Are you kidding me?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:39 AM)

yup

Jeremy Jacobs (Boston)

Pierre, Now that I've helped kill any remaining hope of having an NHL season this year, I'm going to buy the best team in the city: the Boston College Eagles to try and recoop some of my lost revenue. Great idea, huh? Are there any NCAA regulations that say I can't lockout college players? Those kids get paid way too much... wait, they don't get paid? How am I supposed to lock them out????

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:41 AM)

:)

Kenny (MD)

If the NHL wants to end front loaded/back sliding contracts why don't they just charge the players actual salary that year against the cap instead of the average over the life of the contract which would remove the cap loophole? Seems to me what the NHL really wants is to limit the term to 5 years to reduce the effect of bad signings, i.e. big money contracts to players who don't perform up to them.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:42 AM)

Hence why they want to institute the five percent salary variance rule _ where no salary can go up or down more than five percent. Similar concept to what your'e saying

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:45 AM)

I was made for loving you baby.......... Good ol' KISS

Dan (Coudersport)

Why GOD, why?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:45 AM)

I think you're in the wrong chat, I'm not God

Loren (Chicago)

Woke up with huge optimism for the day, and it appears to be smashed to bits. Where do you place the real blame, and what are your updated odds on a season now?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:46 AM)

I think Don Fehr things waiting a bit longer will make the deal even better. It's worked so far for him. But I'm not sure it was wise to push it at this point

Bill (Vegas)

Pierre, I personally think that both sides feel they are close and still have maybe 3-4 weeks to get a deal done and salvage some resemblance of a respectable season. Both sides are just trying to squeeze out the most they can from the other. I still believe there will be NHL hockey by mid-January.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:46 AM)

agreed

Hollister (Boston)

I'll spend my money on college and AHL hockey from now on. This whole process makes me sick. I'm almost ashamed to be an NHL fan...

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:47 AM)

you have been heard

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:47 AM)

also meant to say I agree with what Bill from vegas said

shawn (columbus )

How can either side come to the podium with a straight face and say they care about growing the sport of hockey. This is just devastating to the sport in the US at this point. I can barely even find college hockey on TV. ESPN certainly isn't using that NCAA Hockey contract they have to even keep the sport on the radar.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:50 AM)

I really do believe both sides underestimate the incredible damage that is being done

Jim Vassos (New Jersey)

I am glad that there will be no more NHL - ever! This is just another example of the age of greed. Let the players go back to the farms in Canada and work for a living, let the owners pay their leases on empty buildings. They would rather destroy a game that has made them all rich rather then figure out how to split up billions of the fans money? Come on what is wrong with these people.Even if they come to their senses and get back to playing hockey, I think it is time for the fans to lock them out. You can have my season tickets, my Ranger Jerseys, my subscription to Center Ice an everything else. I am gvoing over to the high school to watch the kids play.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:52 AM)

Voice of the fan. Well done

Bill (Vegas)

Hockey question Pierre, now that it appears there won't be hockey until after the World Junior Championships. How do you think the US will do? Looks like it is Canada's to lose but Russia looks tough with Yakupov & Grigorenko.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:54 AM)

Canada obviously benefits the most from the lockout with RNH and other NHL-calibre players getting to play in world juniors instead. If you look at the last two lockouts, Canada used them to really bolster their teams. The January 1995 team romped big time at the world juniors in Red Deer, Alberta. And of course seven years ago in North Dakota Crosby, Jeff Carter and the boys hammered everyone

Hockey Fan (Boston)

Hey Pierre - did Donald Fehr actually find a way to make Bettman and the owners look good this week?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:55 AM)

I'm not sure anyone looks good after this week

Mike (Boston)

We hear a lot about how Bettman takes his marching orders from the top of the owners, but what about Donald Fehr? Saw a tweet from Bob McKenzie the other day that said "Many players here don't like what's on the table - "what's in it for us" mantra but many others not here say this could be a workable deal. So did Fehr put this deal to a vote or did the "superstars" who were in the room basically say they didn't like the deal and he went along with it? This obviously hurts the 3rd or 4th line guys while those big names can sit this out because they have the money and are overseas making more money. Just so sick of both sides and their crying about he said he said and want to see an end to this.

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:58 AM)

no there was no vote among players because players in the room felt it wasn't a full offer, only elements of a deal offered by the league...

Ryan (Detroit, MI)

Pierre; what is wrong with the NHL and 'PA? How can they not see the damage they're doing? Especially with what transpired last night, I don't know if the NHL will recover from this. I'm a diehard Wings fan (so I'll be back), but what about the casual fans in Phoenix, Columbus, Florida, etc.? Are you still optimistic that a season will happen or does the NHL's rejection last night dissipate your confidence?

Pierre LeBrun
  (11:59 AM)

Incredible damage being done to the game in all kinds of markets. Even in hockey-mad Montreal/Toronto, people have found ways to spend their Saturday nights.Total madness

Pierre LeBrun
  (12:00 PM)

OK everyone, sorry for those I didn't get to. Not a great week in our sport but keep your chins up everyone, we'll get her done soon enough. I hope....