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Two things I love the most in the world, besides my family and fiancee, are hockey and progressive politics. Generally, besides Sean Avery cutting an ad for marriage equality, or the great work being done by the You Can Play Project, these two interests do not intersect. But as the NHL lockout stretches into the new year, my political demons have been awakened.

First, a little history. 8 years ago, the owners locked out the players for an entire season. April and May felt very empty without the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and I feared that hockey may never recover. During the Summer of 2005, the players pretty much gave everything to the owners to get a deal. They agreed to a salary cap, which they had previously said they would not agree to under any circumstances. The NHL owners' cruel persistence paid off. Hockey came back, and amazingly, it came back stronger than ever. The league instituted new rules that opened up the game. They eliminated ties, and cracked down on the neutral zone trap (non-hockey fans, don't ask) that had bogged the game down in previous years. The NHL created the Winter Classic, an outdoors New Years Event that has drawn high TV ratings and rave reviews. The reality program 24/7 on HBO, which gave a behind-the-scenes take on the Winter Classic teams was superb television, and attracted non-hockey fans to the game. Ultimately, the Salary Cap seemed to work. In the 8 post-lockout seasons, there have been 8 different Stanley Cup champions, including ones from Raleigh, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles (sadly none from my underachieving San Jose Sharks). The sport's questionable TV contract with the Versus network (now NBC Sports) even seemed to play dividends. The NHL had an American network committed to showing national games several days a week, and the league had put the network on the map.

Off the ice, the NHL was making lots of money. They used that money to dole out some ridiculous contracts. Defenseman Shea Weber, a good, but relatively unproven player, was offered $110 million over ten years by the Philadelphia Flyers, and the offer was matched by the small market Nashville Predators. This happened this past summer in July. By September, the previous CBA was due to expire. Even though the NHL had cancelled a season eight years ago to get pretty much everything it wanted, it threatened to lock the players out again. When the clock struck midnight on September 15th, the lockout began.

The owners were angry that the players were getting 57% of "hockey related revenue." (HRR). So they proposed that instead, the players take 43% of the revenue. Yes, the very owners doling out $110 million over 14 years, were saying that the players were making too much money. These same owners, the ones giving out 14 year contracts, wanted to limit all contracts to 5 years, and wanted to lock in this owner-friendly system for 10 years. The players rejected this offer, but have so far agreed to reduce their portion of HRR to 50%, have agreed to an 8-year CBA, and 8-year contracts. The NHL has offered the players $300 million to cover preexisting player contracts.

Even with massive concessions from the NHLPA, the NHL has thus far cancelled half the season, and the league has lost an estimated $20 million per day. But here's the thing: the owner's don't really care about losing this money. They're billionaires, and mostly make money through non-hockey ventures. The players are losing about $8-10 million per day. These guys don't have other sources of income. Many players have played in Europe, but many of them are starting to get desperate for a pay check. The owners know this full well, and that's why they're doing everything they can to extract every last dollar from the player's pockets.

So how does this have to do with progressive politics? I know it's hard to sympathize with millionaire players, but what the NHL players are going through is part of a systematic problem for American workers. Players are the ones making the product. They're the reason fans put their butts in the seats. They're the ones that are marketable. But the owners, just like the "job creators" in the rest of the market, have figured out that the players eventually will be desperate enough to work for less. It's no skin off the owners' backs, just as it is no skin off the backs of the Bain Capital-types negotiating collective bargaining contracts. The owners hold all the cards, and with unions weakening dramatically over the past 30 years, especially in the private sector, owners almost always hold the cards. As a result, workers take-home pay has steadily declined in real terms, even though their productivity has increased.

I suppose my interest in labor-manager relations should have been piqued during other disputes, perhaps those that don't involve millionaire workers. But I don't sit by idly every night waiting to watch the auto assembly line. I want to watch hockey again, and I hate to see the "job creator" class ruining something in a realm I thought they couldn't touch.

Originally posted to Barnaby Tucker on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM PST.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports, In Support of Labor and Unions, Canadian Kossacks, and Community Spotlight.


Who do you blame for the current NHL impasse?

6%15 votes
93%229 votes

| 244 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Am A Huge Sports Guy (11+ / 0-)

    I don't like hockey. Well let me say that again, I love hockey in person. I'd argue the best sport in person there is. This is just a farce.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 02:25:02 PM PST

  •  Pucklady misses hockey. (20+ / 0-)

    My Kings waited almost half a century for their first cup, and I started following them in the 80's. I voted to expand the league to Anaheim and San Jose. (They actually asked the fans for their opinion, hard to believe!)

    I don't like lockouts, in any industry.

    And hockey players are not highly compensated, by the standards of pro sports. All pro salaries are inflated, but hockey's are less than the others. It wasn't that long ago that pro hockey players needed a job in addition to their game to support their families. Gordie Howe himself didn't earn enough from hockey and needed a job his whole career.

    I am progressive. I am liberal. I make no apologies. - Kos

    My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 02:47:25 PM PST

    •  College hockey rocks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pucklady, Timothy J

      We've been going to college hockey games - are fortunate there are two good Div I teams within short driving distance - and I have to say I rather prefer it to the pros. There's almost no fighting, even though it's still physical enough, it's fast, it's a bit unpredictable, the games mean a lot more in the regular season thanks to the lack of playoff berth inflation, the post-season is shorter and much more intense, and the venues are small (therefore easier to see games) and the tickets quite cheap.

      Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

      by TheCrank on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 10:32:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey Pucklady, (0+ / 0-)

      Have been a fan since Marcel Dionne and we were good only for the nice weather for teams back East.
      Could hardly believe we won this year when we barely made the playoffs.
      Yes, the lockout is completely ridiculous.
      Barnaby is right.

      What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

      by cagernant on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:04:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gary Bettman is the chief cause (29+ / 0-)

    Surprised that an excellent diary about the NHL lockout doesn't mention the central role of Gary Bettman.

    He isn't simply a puppet doing the bidding of the owners - he is the puppet master who is determined to break the union and impose a new business model on the league (one based on expansion to southern US cities without any hockey tradition, while screwing over Canada and northern US cities that live for hockey).

    He tried to destroy the players' union 8 years ago, and this is his latest effort to finish the job.

    In a just world, the current NHL would completely tank, the current owners would get screwed out of their investment as payback for their tactics, and a new league would arise from the ashes with a northern focus and a different structure and business model. (Sadly, that won't happen and instead Bettman's hand will be strengthened coming out of whatever agreement finally ends this lock-out and the players and fans will be screwed over yet again).

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:03:16 PM PST

    •  Canadians seem to be very upset with US (32+ / 0-)

      Commissioner Bettman expanding hockey into US cities with marginal hockey enthusiasm or tradition (places like Phoenix, or a host of Southern cities) where the teams lose money) and then saying that the owners need to lock out the players and pay them less money.  On all the Canadian blogs, they are complaining about the American Commissioner ruining their national game, and you know what, they are right.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:55:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BTW, when the Stanley Cup is presented every year, (28+ / 0-)

        Commissioner Bettman is enthusiastically booed by every crowd in every city where it is presented.  There is an international unanimity among all of hockey fandom that Gary Bettman is an asshole who is bad for the sport.

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:00:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I grew up in "Hockeytown" (12+ / 0-)

        -Detroit for the uninitiated, and now live in "The State of Hockey" (Minnesota) and I completely agree.  I watched with disgust through the 90's when teams were shipped off from places like Winnipeg and my new home here in Minnesota, where fans are RABID.  And being from Detroit, I know from rabid hockey fans.  And the places where these teams landed, hockey is little more than a sideshow.  A curiosity to fill the void between the Super Bowl and Spring Training. . . And don't even get me started on the Quebec-Colorado club move.  

        Suffice it to say, I could fill many rambling pages about where the NHL has gone astray, and place all of at the feet of one Gary Bettman.

        I tend to vote for Democrats because they're not Republicans. I tend to hate Democrats when all they offer me is not being Republicans.

        by Fantastic on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:48:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually this is one area where I like (9+ / 0-)

        the Goldwater Institute and their lawsuit against Gendale AZ.

        The big issues for the NHL are twofold:

        1) The league doesn't have a major US TV contract, along the lines of the CBC's. They have always tried to get one, but it will never happen for a number of reasons.

        2) Until 1 happens, unlike the NFL/NBA the NHL team rely on the tickets more than the other leagues. Which is fine in Canada or traditional American hockey cities, like New York, Boston and Chicago, etc.  The other teams like Phoenix either have to rely directly on cash or sweetheart stadium deals, that should not be signed.

        A note about point 2, it is interesting to compare how willing red states are to raise any taxes that will go into the billionaire  owners pockets directly or indirectly.

        Contrasting this with "Taxachusetts", were the arena and stadium that were built in the past few years where built without any taxpayer funding.

        •  Could never understand why the CDN gov't did not (5+ / 0-)

          charge US cities with unfair subsidies under NAFTA for all the sweetheart deals for arenas with public money. For example, the Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal arenas were all built and paid for by the owners of those hockey clubs. In Ottawa, the club even had to pay for the huge interchange off the freeway. It is so big that one of hte four cloverleafs alone will eventually have 15 auto dealers inside it. There are about nine already.The clubowner owned the land too,  as his father (a career public servant in the Dept. of Agriculture)  had assembled this large parcel nearly 20 miles from downtown years before.

          I actually asked John Manley, Minister of Industry and Deputy Prime Minister, this question while we were hitting balls at indoors winter golf school ( his lunch hour, I'm a retired senior public servant). Like many, he did not get it. It either went right over his head when he ducked, or it went in one ear and out the other because there was nothing in between the ears.  He was in charge of the file at that very moment, when the Senators seemed to be in danger of failing ( high exchange rates, CBC revenues going to US teams in equal shares, but they were not sending anything back, and I could go on). Plus they did not have to maintain, finance  or build their buildings.

          "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

          by ontario on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:11:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I remember when they were building the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ontario, Observerinvancouver

            The Pallidium/Corel Centre/ScotiaBank Centre as I spent a few years at one of the post-secondary institutions in the city.

            One of the other obstacles was I read in the Citizen was how they had to determine if the Carp River on the site was technically "navigable"

            All of this eventually effectively forced Firestone to give up the ownership of The Senators to Rod Bryden.

            •   Yes, and that caused a one-year delay, for the (2+ / 0-)

              environmental assessment of that piddly creek, and extra in the 9,500 seat Civic Centre at Lansdowne, losing revenue from what 18,500  seats in the new building would have earned, at a  critical time. The assessment under the NWP Act consisted of a biologist trying to paddle in a kayak, looking for fish habitat. As a condiition, the Senators had to build in back-stream bays for the fish to spawn in. It's now better than it was before. The Carp River issue also forced a cut in seating to 18,500 for 19,500 to reduce the footprint. It must be 2000 feet of absolutely flat land to the edge of the crik. southwest of Ottawa is the flattest plain one will ever see, the bottom of the prehistoric Champlain Sea. Makes the  prairies look hilly. The river just runs, at times, in a culvert under neighbourhood roads (Palladium Drive, Hazeldean, etc.).

              I live less than 2 miles from there, and was past it twice today. Worked there eight years after retirement. Live where all the players live, know many of them, past and present, including the big stars. Several lived right next door and others within two doors and others on nearby streets.

              As an aside, Harper just killed the scope of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, using one of his omnibus budget bills, pushed through on closure. Dictator of the far right.

              "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

              by ontario on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:11:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •   Canadians could easily support several more (4+ / 0-)

        teams..  Instead we have to watch our game being debased by Bettman's Southern strategy.  Yeeech!

        We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

        by Observerinvancouver on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:31:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would LOVE to see that n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  Dead on. Gary Bettman is an ASSHOLE! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timothy J, terjeanderson

      He is the sports equivalent of Bain Capital. His approach to negotiation is no matter what, he get's his way. The Gary Bettman elevator pitch to investors would be something like, "Fuck the sport, fuck the players, fuck the suppliers, fuck the media, fuck the employees, and thoroughly fuck the FANS! Those cocksuckers will come back, and they will PAY."

      "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else." Winston Churchill

      by Blackhawks on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 12:45:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to DKos Wide World of Sports (6+ / 0-)

    Nicely done diary.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:08:49 PM PST

  •  Which is why the players brought in (19+ / 0-)

    Donald Fehr - they saw this as a union busting effort, and brought in a proven league buster.

    Gary Bettman is a farce as a commissioner - the NHL was on ESPN (in order to build their 2nd network at the time), and the contract with Versus/NBCS was a giveaway to Flyers ownership group member Ed Snider.  

    As a Buffalo sports fan, there are really only 3 seasons -

    1) Bills football, until week 3 when inevitably the "Let's go Sabres" chants start in the stands

    2) Hockey season, when my woefully underachieving Sabres put on a late season rush, but miss the playoffs

    3) The rest of the year - when we pine for football again.  

  •  Best thing about the NHL lockout: (15+ / 0-)

    The AHL. Farm team seasons are ROCKING. And I can afford a ticket! Hockey AND progressive values all in one! For a limited time only! Plus, more blood!

    Seriously, I'm a MAJOR Hockey fan.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:33:50 PM PST

  •  The other victim here is the fans/taxpayers (8+ / 0-)

    It seems to me that the owners are unlike most other owners in that they do not own the venues in which their teams play.  I do not know the contract terms for those venues, but it seems likely to me that the cities or other local governments that own the ice are getting screwed too.  There ought to be a way they can put a thumb on the scales here - maybe by threatening to cancel the leases and replace the team with a new hockey team owned along the lines of the Green Bay model.  A dozen or so such threats might get the owners' attention because they would have a league.  In the worst case, hockey gets an ownership makeover, which would not be bad at all.  

    •  and lots of ordinary workers (18+ / 0-)

      at the restaurants and bars near the arena, the ticket takers and ushers and concessions workers inside, the parking lot workers (cities usually take a lot of parking revenue also). all these people are losing 40+ days of work opportunity.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:56:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly right esquimax (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J

        Those workers are largely forgotten in all this. I am a big sports fan, and my natural inclination is to side with  the players. However at this point, I am sick of this whole thing at this point. I find it absolutely outrageous that we are in serious jeopardy of losing ANOTHER  season. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in pro sports history. So congratulations to the owners , Bettman, Donald Fehr and the players union for this absolute debacle.

         Whenever they do come back, I'm sure we'll get another "Thank You Fans" message along the blue lines just like after the last season was lost. I'm sorry but this is a disgrace.

    •  most franchise owners in US professional sports (15+ / 0-)

      ... do not technically own the arenas in which they play -- they extort the taxpayers to pay for construction, pay for real estate, pay for maintenance, of the arenas -- essentially they get multi-hundred-million-dollar palaces built for them for free.

      The PRIME tenants of the arenas (more often in the case of the indoor arenas it is the NBA team but some NHL teams are prime tenants) usually have contracts which give the host franchise ALL revenues (tickets, concessions, parking, etc etc) from ALL events (concerts, conventions, trade shows, etc etc) held in the arenas. In addition the host franchise almost always has unconditional control over use of the arena -- it can never be used by anyone without the approval of the host franchise.

      The prime tenants usually play under the terms of a "lease" which theoretically involves them paying "rent," but most often in actual practice involves "revenue guarantees" and other clauses which involves the arena authority (i.e. taxpayers) paying the FRANCHISE money for each game it plays in the arena.

      So essentially professional sports franchises get:

      1) Their arenas built for free and perpetual maintenance

      2) Complete control over who may use the arena

      3)  ALL money generated from ALL events in the arena

      4) Additional payment for each game they play in the arena

      5) To play the extortion game all over again in a decade or so when they want another new arena.

      6) Usually, in effect, an unconditional tax exemption.

      What does the host city get?

      1) The privilege of having a "major league" franchise.

      That's it.

      Talk about welfare moochers. Where are the screaming teabaggers rioting in front of pro sports arenas howling about billion-dollar giveaways of tax money?

      •  I wasn't aware of all of this. Thank (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you for enlightening me.

        But if, say, Autorama played at the Joe, is Mike Ilitch responsible for paying vendors, ushers, etc. who work that particular event? Or does he just take the gate?

        I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. -- Gerald R. Ford

        by mideedah on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:58:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So how do the cities fight back? (0+ / 0-)

        I thought the deal the owners got from their cities was a bad one for the cities, but I am surprised they are that bad.  And, here they are not even getting the benefits they bargained for.  What are their points of leverage when the owners abjectly and deliberately fail to perform their part of the bargain?  Is there an avenue for a hostile takeover?

        •  The problem is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          salmo, fiddlingnero

          that, well, a lot of people like professional sports, so this sort of hostage-taking tends to work.  "Build me a new arena or I'll move the team to another city" is a convenient way of getting the city's taxpayers to demand that their tax dollars be spent on said new arena.

          And, enough professional sports franchises have actually moved to a different city that people take the threat seriously.  (Being a Memphis native, I've seen this happen, though on the opposite end.)

          28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

          by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:32:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This may be an opportunity to change that (0+ / 0-)

            We have the example of the WHA, which is perhaps not the bad example it appears to be in hindsight.  I did not remember all the changes it brought forward, but a quick review reminded me how it not only rewrote the deals players got, it showcased new styles of play now mostly the rule around the NHL.  Overall, it was probably good for the game and good for the fans.  It did all that with ownership that was often shakey and in markets where it was swimming against the tide.  If instead, a new upstart league was created in first tier markets like Detroit, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, etc., with ownership stakes vested in the cities themselves so that sort of extortion of the local governments actually putting up the cash would no longer be possible, there might be an opportunity for a far better deal for fans and taxpayers.  I imagine that the leases NHL teams have are very generous, but there must be a default clause for refusal to play the games the lease envisions.  If the cities and other local governments who own the ice explored those default clauses and the prospects for another version of WHA, the benefits might be much greater this time.  If nothing else, it would put the brakes on the owners' lockout strategy.

  •  Actually, I don't give a shit. (3+ / 0-)

    Professional athletics, as well as many of the down stream organizations for to highschool...get more attention, time and money than they deserve.  If we spent 1/10th the time and money on academic excellence, we'd be a heck of a better nation.  

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 03:44:47 PM PST

    •  Would it help (8+ / 0-)

      if I told you a strong majority of NHL players are not from the United States?  

      Not going to disagree that a lot of money goes into athletics, but at the high school and college levels, none of that goes to the players.  Arenas aside, the money also comes from somewhere, such as the market.  There are a lot of places where I don't spend my money but nevertheless care about whether workers are getting a fair deal.  In this case, what holds for hockey also holds for a few of the symphony orchestras that have been in labor disputes -- these, too, I support.  There's a case to be made against spending money on new concert halls, too.

      The notion that money spent on athletics necessarily is taken from academics is also a faulty assumption.  Nobody who graduated from Michigan's law school is any less equipped for there being a football team associated with the university, and I say this having graduated from two Division III schools, where college athletics are about having the opportunity to actually play because it's fun sometimes.  Britain could have the lower division soccer leagues associated with its universities, but that's not why Oxbridge are good, currently.  The interest would just shift to private organizations and minor leagues.  

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:22:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose I'm just being cranky... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wednesday Bizzare, CharlieHipHop

        Athletics as "fun" and teaching the concepts of teamwork and the benefit of fitness, etc., are great, but even in highschools the idea of winning above all else has taken over.  Hockey is particularly violent.  

        I also disagree that money for athletics is not taken from academics.  The recent scandal at UNC re rigging academic eligibility and the monies spent supporting college athletes who apparently can't even spell their own names or make change is money wasted.  

        Beyond that, it's just absurd that americans revere athletes more than they revere people who actually contribute something to society.  

        The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

        by Persiflage on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 12:40:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Overall you make a fair point but I have to take (0+ / 0-)

          Issue with this

          Hockey is particularly violent.
          Which is simply not true - the NHL, to be sure, is one thing - but college hockey, international play - in particular the Olympics, and the World Jrs, currently underway, are tough to be sure, but there's zero fighting, and much less stickwork than you see in the North American pro leagues.  

          The emphasis is on speed, skating, passing and teamwork - fast break hockey - we can debate why that is, but the end result is IMO a more enjoyable product to watch [and certainly more fun to play that way, rather than the dump and chase bs under which so many of us were brought up in].

    •  It's not zero sum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wednesday Bizzare

      Money spent on hockey goes also to jobs where the team is.

      And this is an important labor bellwether.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:50:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be alot more sympathetic..... (4+ / 0-) this point....well...let me explain...

    I LOVE HOCKEY...  I go all the way back to the "original SIX"

    but now....I could care daughter had a pre-existing condition....I couldn't get her healthcare...until OBAMACARE came along......then that RW goalie from the Bruins....the one who refused to go to the White House to meet Obama?....he pulls a groin doing the "splits"...and the Bruins will spend more on his groin than the State of Mass. will spend on poor kids in one year.........

    Screw the NHL Players....and their owners's billionaires screwing millionaires....and it's fun to watch.....

    and besides.....for the last 20 has sucked....the Columbus Blue Jackets?.......come on...they all suck...they should all be back in Ontario milking cows in 40 Below....but ehhh....they would at least get health care...

    •  Tim Thomas is a cranky jackass to be sure [and I (0+ / 0-)

      Was pulling for the B's] - but to be fair most hockey players are a lot more enlightened than that selfish individual [who has sabotaged Team USA's other goalies if he doesn't get the start].

  •  the lockout is 100.000000% the owners' fault (25+ / 0-)

    1) The owners unconditionally won the previous lockout in 2005 -- they dictated the CBA down to the very last letter.

    2) The players were perfectly willing to continue playing under the previous agreement.

    Any story which attempts to assign ANY blame or responsibility on the players is a complete shill job for the owners.

  •  FYI (13+ / 0-)

    Anyone who thinks hockey players are rich are just plain wrong. Here is the truth.

    A typical career of an NHL player can be summarized with one word. Its short! Over half of all NHL players play less that 100 games during their career and for approximately 5 percent of players, their first NHL game is also their last. If we look at this from a different angle, long careers are extremely rare. Only 4 percent of players (that's 1 out of 25) dress up for more than 1000 games.

    Only a very small percentage of players get wealthy playing hockey.

  •  Hockey:my second favorite thing to do in bed naked (5+ / 0-)

    on a cold winter's night, with my special fella...

    watching it, to be  clear

    and the f*cking owners are seriously harshing my winter vibe.

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:08:49 PM PST

  •  Matthew and Darcy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, MI Sooner, JGibson

    Barnaby Tucker- well played!

    btw- love the Jamie McGinn trade, this Avs fan thanks you.

    PS- Michael Sgarbossa is leading our AHL affiliate in scoring this year.

    Fuck Bettman and the owners, they had cost containment and they screwed it up.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:23:31 PM PST

  •  Matthew Barnaby and Darcy Tucker? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 04:23:38 PM PST

  •  Bettman is a Creepy Little Shill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Derfel, MI Sooner, Penny Century

    for the 5 or 6 powerful owners calling the shots - Snider of Philly chief among them. They will never be satisfied until they can call 100% of the shots for their players.

    Go Habs.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 05:17:46 PM PST

  •  sorry I can not care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    both parties make obscene amounts of money and the fight over who gets the bigger slice of that pie is just sickening to me

    •  Well, if you pay $$$$ to watch a hockey game .... (6+ / 0-)

      ... are you paying the $$$ to watch the players play, or to watch the owners own?

      The players have a unique skill that a lot of people will pay money to see.

      Owners are basically rich guys who sign checks. Nobody ever paid money to watch guys sign checks.

      •  actaully I mostly refuse to watch professional (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        sports exactly because of the obscene amount of money involved. This is despite the fact taht I highly enjoy both basketball and baseball but there is something deeply screwed up about our society that we allow the sports industry to be a multibillion dollar industry while we fall behind in transportation, education and screw over emergency serives.

      •  If its so easy.. (0+ / 0-)

        If its so easy to run a business or a sports team, why isn't every single business a worker owned Coop?

        Without the evil Owners, who would decide on salaries in the first place?   A vote by players?  

        The system we have sucks in many ways, particularly the way it rewards power with profit.    In professional sports, both the owners and highest paid players have more power than anybody should have.

        You can still watch Hockey at your local high school.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:12:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I tell every fan I know... (7+ / 0-)

    ... this is a LOCKOUT, not a WALKOUT.

    •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

      In a union dispute, don't the owners have just as much right to shut down the game as the players?    Should the players just be able to name their terms in every dispute?

      Union-Capital disputes are a confrontation, not a cooperation.   I can't blame the owners for using the tactics that they have.

      Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

      by bobtmn on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:06:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can ... Until the owners open the books (3+ / 0-)

        to the public and prove they are really hemorraging profits as they claim.

        A lot (not all) of the hockey franchises are boutiques as far as their owners are concerned - a pretty little tidbit to dress their portfolios up, but not prime moneymaking parts of their empires.

        This lockout IMO is not about profits so much as power.

        In my view these type of Corporatist Billionaire Owners are using this lockout to try to symbolically disgrace and break Pro Sports Unions in the USA - similiar to what Reagan did to the perception of regular Unions using the Air Traffic Controllers Strike back in the 1980's.

        • "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine
        • "The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." Stephen King
        • I am the 99%

        by Tommymac on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:04:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does "hockey-related revenue" include (0+ / 0-)

    TV money?

    I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. -- Gerald R. Ford

    by mideedah on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 06:03:52 PM PST

  •  the amazing thing is..... (3+ / 0-)

    I harldy noticed that hockey was "missing"

    they have a gazzillion crummy teams in a gazzillion crummy Red State towns who don't give a rat's a** about hockey and never have and never will.....

    they let practically all these same crummy teams into Post-Season Play...(they call it the "second season"....Okay..then why in hell should I watch any game between Oct and April..because that's the "first season"...that obviously doesn't mean crap...which I why I quit watching hockey altogether...except for maybe...Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final)

    the sad thing is a GREAT sport...I played...loved it as a kid.....Bobby Hull.....Gordie Howe....Stan wonder I hate Capitalism and Republicans in could they fu*k hockey up?...but they have....

  •  Players should fire owners. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No Exit, tobendaro

    1. All players quit. Just quit.

    2. Players form new league. Players are sole stockholders.

    3. Players pledge stock as collateral for large loan. With loan $, players rent stadiums, pay for advertising, hire accountants and managers. Resume play. Make profits.

    4. Old owners go to hell.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:00:17 PM PST

    •  NHL owners control all the viable arenas (0+ / 0-)

      so this is not really a practical solution.

      Those that are not controlled by the NHL are controlled by the NBA, and the NBA does not exactly want to encourage players to break away from ownership to form their own league, so NBA franchises would observe an NHL embargo on leasing arenas to any players' league teams.

      Plus players being the principal stockholders does not work because the average player is only able to play at a "major league" level of performance for 3-4 seasons.

      Then, when the player's skill falls below "major league" level, how can you "cut" him or send him to the minors if he is a 1/20th owner of the franchise?

      •  Sorry (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey, TDDVandy, No Exit

        You're just wrong here on several levels.

        First, you're talking about an antitrust issue if they didn't let them lease the arenas. Second,there are all kinds of coop/employee owned business the in the world. It can be done.

        GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

        by Attorney at Arms on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:52:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

          Not to mention it's an incorrect assertion that the NHL and NBA control all the viable arenas.  Most of the arenas are owned by city governments -- American Airlines Center, HP Pavilion, Joe Louis Arena, Scottrade Center, to name a few.

          28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

          by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:23:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Every single one of those arenas was built (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timothy J

            ... under financing and lease arrangements which give the "host franchise" unconditional and absolute control over the use of the arenas.

            The host franchises usually insist upon it as a non-negotiable demand (among their many non-negotiable demands) for their continuing to play there. In fact, the respective leagues are quite explicit that this is a dealbreaker requirement.

            The city governments or local financing entities have no say over who may or may not use the arenas.

            Of course it sounds ridiculous, but thanks to the lapdog MSM which constantly slurps up to pro sports franchise owners, the general public has NO idea how preposterously one-sided these "lease agreements" are and the ridiculous concessions politicians have made to franchise owners.

            "Antitrust issues?" You gotta be kidding. We are talking about multibillionaires here. The laws don't apply to them.

            Remember who has appointed most of the judges over the last 40 years: Nixon, Reagan and the House of Bush. There will be no help from the courts.

            •  No expert here, but I doubt that antitrust (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Timothy J

              comes close to applying.

              The lease terms are, at their simplest, just non-compete clauses. If you opened a hair salon and rented out a space somewhere, you'd be able to demand a clause that the owner could not rent any other space in the building to another hair salon.

              Forcing a city to agree that no other pro hockey team can use the arena without the tenant nhl team's consent is really not that unusual.

              •  the leases usually specify that NOBODY AT ALL (0+ / 0-)

                ... can use the arena without the host franchise's approval.

                Essentially public sports-arena leases give the host franchises all the benefits of ownership (i.e. complete control over the arena and all revenues generated from it) with none of the responsibilities (construction costs, rent, taxes).

                •  I'm not quite sure I get this for hockey. (0+ / 0-)

                  I'd accept this without question for baseball, which because of unusual field shape really needs to live in purpose-built stadiums.  But my gut feeling is that NHL teams typically play second fiddle to a city's NBA teams, although of course that's not always the case.

                  Outside of Phoenix and other expansion cities and probably the Canadian teams (except Toronto), the stadiums are generally multipurpose with at a minimum the local NBA team and often even more than that.

                  Hell, LA manages to host two NBA teams AND an NHL team at Staples.

                  "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

                  by auron renouille on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:44:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  This (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, TDDVandy, No Exit

      I've been saying since the 90s they should start a coop league. Some sport should, finally.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:51:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Proud Blues Fan and mad at Bettman/owners (0+ / 0-)

    This Blues fan says Bettman and the owners can fuck off!!

  •  We are on the same page BT (0+ / 0-)

    I am so fucking depressed that this is something that gave me and my son joy for the last many years and to have the same 1% assholes fucking it up also.  Yes some of the palayers make a lot of money but as has been pointed out that is SO FEW compared to the amount of youth players aspiring to the NHL and they are so at risk for serious injury and short careers. Fuck the billionare plutocrats sitting in their executive suites. I want my country back and my hockey back.

    I am pro-life. Bring our troops home ALIVE!

    by Doc Allen on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:43:58 PM PST

  •  The Fans Need To Walkout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobtmn, Alice in Florida

    I don't take the side of either the players or the owners.  The whole racket stinks.  I'd love to see the fans of professional sports get organized and just walk away until the owners & players stop being greedy.  A working guy can't take his wife and kids to see a ball game without spending a fortune.  With $90 dollar tickets, $8 dollar hot dogs, and $11 beers, and outrageous parking fees, a family of four can easily burn through hundreds of dollars just to enjoy a game.  There is no reason a plumber or truck driver ought to fork over that kind of money to watch a bunch of overpaid athletes.  Fuck the whole miserable enterprise-- just stay away from the games (and don't watch them on TV either) and we'll see some big changes pronto.  

    How can we have a third party when we don't even have a second party?

    by Eagleye on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:21:02 PM PST

    •  Uh... no. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sorry, but the prices are what they are because people will pay them, not because the owners are greedy or the players get paid too much.  Free market, and stuff.

      28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:18:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Corporations buy a lot of them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J

        Ordinary Joes can't afford it.

        Unregulated free market - yes, but the demand for seats is driven higher by these non-fan suits who go to games to be seen and wined and dined, not so much for the sports.

        Pay close attention to any game - the empty seats are prominent - even in 'sold out' venues.

        • "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine
        • "The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." Stephen King
        • I am the 99%

        by Tommymac on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:52:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What I'm saying.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J

        Is that the fans need to pull their heads out of their asses and come to the collective realization that they are paying way too much to watch a bunch of overpaid schmucks play games.  If the fans organized and acted en masse, they could absolutely control professional sports.

        How can we have a third party when we don't even have a second party?

        by Eagleye on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 04:02:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's all (0+ / 0-)

    Because of the Bettman over expansion.

    But that being fait accompli, the owners are to blame for this one 100%. I had mixed feelings last time, but this is insane.

    What blows me away is how pro-owner Canadians are in this.

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 08:48:00 PM PST

  •  Never been a big hockey fan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No Exit, tobendaro

    Blame growing up in the Southern states for that (although I've been to a Predators game, and enjoyed it), but I sense, much like other labor disputes of recent vintage, that many (owners included) want to blame the players for the owners' failures.

    If the owners think ten-year contracts are a bad deal for them, the simple solution is to stop agreeing to them.  Of course, the demands of putting a winning team on the ice mean that competitive bidding wars for players' services will inevitably ensue.  It's almost like the owners are trying to put the caps on one another.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:15:35 PM PST

  •  Proskauer Rose is the union busting law firm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No Exit, tobendaro

    used by all four major sports leagues.  Hence all the lockouts recently.  See Corey Robin's post on this subject

    I recommend that you take a look at the Bain Capital of the union busting world.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:58:25 PM PST

  •  I hope the players hold out (0+ / 0-)

    for as long as it takes.They have to do this for future players as much as for themselves. Bettman should have dealt with these major issues during the last strike and i hope this fiasco costs him his tenure.One thing is for certain,i wouldn't want to be him in all his arrogant glory at centre ice for the forseeable future.

    “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

    by Spacetrucker on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:22:44 PM PST

  •  Really Disappointing (0+ / 0-)

    My significant other is a huge hockey fan and I just started to come back to the sport the last couple years thanks to her after writing it off after the last lockout.  The NHL playoffs rival the NCAA basketball tournament as the most exciting sporting event each year in my opinion and the spring is going to feel empty without the NHL each night.

    I can't believe the owners are doing this after their sport had just started to make its way back into relevance.  They lost their ESPN TV deal after the last lockout and, if I remember correctly, were basically giving Versus their product for chump change in order to have some exposure.  They now have a 10 year multi-billion dollar deal with NBC which I'm sure won't stand up to another lost season.  And they threw it all away for more profits when they'd been making more then they'd ever made from hockey.

    I wish the players could find some sort of alternate ownership, probably mostly Canadian and New England based, that would allow the creation of a new, more compact league that isn't watered down by expansion.  I suppose the union decertification is the first step but if something isn't done soon, all the players are going to wind up in a potentially expanded KHL.

  •  I'm glad the players are standing up for what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they see as their fair share.  Check out Head Games, movie documentary, about head injury in the rougher sports.  I will never view football, soccer, rugby, boxing etc. the same and that goes for men and women.  Concussions as you may know lead to serious consequences for life of the athlete.  Mr. Tucker, please don't take this as a bummer, I just want people to realize what athletes risk for us and their families when they play.  Thanks for this post.

  •  Republished to Canadian Kossacks /nt (0+ / 0-)

    Listen to Netroots Radio or to our pods on Stitcher. "We are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place" <- Me

    by yuriwho on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 05:38:10 AM PST

  •  Politics aside... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    I just want the damn NHL back, and the Whalers too!!!! Here in Hartford, the local AHL team stinks, and may be gone by next season, the games are on a station that is just 14 watts at night (they are on the station's 50,000 watt big brother FM only on Saturdays), and there are no games on TV?  I am going to be very pissed if the season gets totally cancelled, (more than I am now)!!!!

    Right now, I would even settle for listening to Jack Edwards and the Bruins. Get back to work!!!!

  •  The players' associations hardly qualify (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    as "unions" in my book, especially when minimum salaries are in the multi six-figure range. How many hard working stiffs make that kind of money? The leagues have monopolies, and the NHL in particular is the worst of the 4 (though David Stern certainly gives Bettman a run for the money in the worst commissioner category). If they don't want to play it's no great loss to the economy, they can all play elsewhere and make quite good money, so who cares?

  •  The players should form another league. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wednesday Bizzare, Timothy J

    The owners have hit up the taxpayers for stadia and they're screwing the players over. So, form nother league.
       Same with Canada. Detach Canadian hockey from the USA corporate machine.

  •  I find it ironic that "libertarian/conservative" (4+ / 0-)

    business owners viscerally despise unions. Unions are nothing more than people engaged in commerce that freely enter a contract (you know, free markety kind of stuff). The fact that they have the skills necessary to create the product required for a pro sports team is their strength.

    Pro team owners can choose to purchase the best their money can buy, or enter the free market for replacement players (maybe there is a huge talent pool of hockey players in a 3rd world country they can exploit?) The professional union can seek an alternate market like a new league-owners beware. What owners should not be allowed to do is gerrymander with laws and undermine the negotiating power of the players.

    When you get down to it, hockey players risk their financial well being and their health (permanent brain and back disabilities) every time they take the ice. The owners? A piece of their investment at worst.

    -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

    by Blueslide on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:58:35 AM PST

  •  I miss hockey but.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

    I am surviving and it is my fav sport. The other issue is expansion. The league needs to cull some teams.

    The problem is that the NHL as a fan sport is well down the list in the United States. I am on the side of the players but they do not have the mass appeal of other sports here. Most Americans basically do not care and Canadians are getting increasingly ambivalent.

    •  Think it'll happen? (0+ / 0-)

      If they were to cut down to size, what teams do you think will go?  Our family attended some Blue Jackets games and I recall them being well-attended but I suspect that was in part because, although not exactly New York, a major-league team was long overdue there (We had the MLS team and our family actually had season tickets for a few years, their prices were surprisingly reasonable at the time).  Of course, Ohio State football is extraordinarily big there, which is why, I suspect, a NFL team will probably never be in the cards for Columbus.

      But that's been a number of years ago now, I don't know if attendance stayed high or if the novelty wore off.  I've never been drawn to a Phoenix Coyotes game, it just feels wrong, even though Los Angeles doesn't exactly have icy winters and I loved following the Kings.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:13:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I honestly not only don't care about sports, (0+ / 0-)

    I hate them. Growing up, sports always ruined everything I wanted to see (movies, mostly) because their fans whined if TV schedules operated like schedules, not like optional schedules when it came to sports.

    But I care about labor, and I thank Laura Clawson for her work updating us about how management is trying to screw yet another labor class.

  •   Eric Nesterenko shrugged.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J

        As a hockey fan since the 1960s, I'm amazed by how little reaction this lockout has had in the Great
    White North... A lot of fans have given up on the NHL, while most of the immigrants we get here follow soccer more then hockey... in addition, many, perhaps most parents, cannot afford to put their kids in minor hockey, while others refuse to put their kid's health at risk in a sport that lionizes violence and brutality.... it could be a great sport, were it not run by knucklehead neanderthals (Don Cherry and Mike Milbury, etc.) and owned by greedy right-wing  oligarchs (Ed Snider, Jeremy Jacobs, etc.)

       Don't really care anymore if they ever come back...
     I'll wait for the Olympics instead, support local teams or watch soccer...


  •  I love hockey as a spectator, but don't ask me (0+ / 0-)

    about players or league history, I'll make an ass of myself.  But I do love watching it.

    I'm sad about this, and I hope the players come out ahead, the trajectory in pro (and college) sports lately has not been very good for health and safety among many other issues.  But I have to say that the owners have probably overplayed their hand and strangled the golden goose here (come on, this sentence only needs one more metaphor!  one more!).  I miss seeing hockey on TV but I'm not going nuts about it and, although I've followed the Columbus Blue Jackets (which, last I heard, was a successful expansion), the Bruins while in Boston and the Kings while in LA, I can't bring myself to follow the Coyotes in Phoenix (are they even still in Phoenix at all?).  Hell, I loved my college games in Boston when I was in law school, I also spent way too much of my money from paid internships on hockey gear :).

    How many other fans are like me - smart enough to figure out what "offsides" means but not so addicted as to return to attending 2-5 games per year next season?  Hockey isn't built quite as deeply in the United States as it is in Canada, although I think that certain regions are very big, particularly the Northeast.

    I also have a lot of doubts about the massive expansions.  Phoenix has a stadium in distant suburbia, probably 90 minutes from our part of suburbia (yes, Phoenix is that big), and there's something weird about having to drive to a hockey game and crank up the A/C.  I'm not attracted by it; I'd rather follow my old teams.  I've gone to a lot of spring training baseball games, before it gets to be 136F in the shade, however.  I don't give a !@#$ about the Diamondbacks, their stadium is too antiseptic after Fenway, Dodger and Yankee Stadiums and seats in areas where people with my poor eyesight can see really don't exist in my tax bracket.  I mean, if I cared, I could pay, but... meh.  I save my money to go to Yankees games when I visit friends in New York.

    We're likely to move to Portland within the next 1-2 years and I'm looking forward to Winterhawks games - maybe that short MAX ride in a slightly-chilled Pacific Northwest winter will be more attractive than the 90-minute sun-drenched drive to a distant stadium, and the ticket prices for the Winterhawks look a little more realistic.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 08:57:57 PM PST

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