Haggerty: Is NHL really looking for Cuban's 'fix' in lockout?


Haggerty: Is NHL really looking for Cuban's 'fix' in lockout?

Lets start by agreeing that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a good, cursory understanding of the NHL lockout and the business reasons behind it.

Cuban, also a Dallas Stars season ticket holder and a legitimate fan of the NHL product, called it a Civil War between the northern hockey franchises turning a tidy profit and the southern Sun Belt teams that have always struggled to thrive in non-traditional markets.

NHL Franchises like Carolina and Tampa Bay have managed to buck that trend to a large degree and been the model of NHL success in the South, but even those teams rarely make money. Franchises in Florida, Phoenix, Dallas and Nashville among several others have endured their share of struggles along the way while losing millions upon millions of dollars. They are the poster children of franchises struggling after the NHL forced them into non-traditional markets.

"When you have all your southern franchises basically sucking wind, there's a message there that you have to fix it. I mean, you have two different worlds; the north and the south. It's kind of like the civil war right now going on, and it's got to be fixed, said Cuban to So, yeah I'd cringe more as a hockey fan. I'd cringe more if they don't fix it. Just like the last one, it's only been like seven years right? But I even wrote a blog back then that they should have fixed it, and they didn't."

So how do you fix it? Thats the million dollar question.

Perhaps Cuban should start cringing because the NHL isnt doing nearly enough to solve the problem.

MORE: Cuban: NHL's chance to fix league is now
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When a top-heavy league like the NHL has teams like the Maple Leafs, Canadians, Rangers, Bruins and Blackhawks that need wheel barrels for all the cash theyre taking in, its a business model screaming for revenue sharing.

The Maple Leafs franchise was estimated to be worth 1 billion by Forbes Magazine. Thats more than any single NBA franchise is worth, and the Leafs also were reported to have made well over 100 million on profit last season. Add on top of that a 2 billion TV deal over 10 years that the NHL has signed with the NBC Network.

Its an inexcusably major flaw in the NHLs business model when one learns that the Bettman and Co. have only 11 percent revenue sharing within the leagues business structure. The NBA is considered the NHLs sister league and closest business model, and their system shares 30 percent of revenues between the have and have not franchises.

Thats what sports owners do when theyre interested in preserving the long term health and wellness of their league rather than relying on constant claw backs from the players.

The NFL is in a whole different stratosphere given their TV deal and massive streams of revenue, and they actually share roughly 80 percent of the leagues revenue.

Yet the NHL has seemed extremely disinterested in significantly raising their revenue sharing amounts, and thus far has bumped things up nominally to 200 million in the next proposed CBA. The players wanted at least 275 million in revenue sharing and were pushing for something upwards of 300 million in the next CBA, as well as provisions that would allow a team like the Islanders to qualify for revenue sharing even if theyre considered a big market franchise.

Early in this summers CBA negotiations Bettman called the revenue sharing component a distraction to the rest of the talks. That doesnt exactly sound like a league thats trying to permanently fix a business model Cuban correctly described as sucking wind in noted hockey hotbeds like Sunrise, Florida and Glendale, Arizona.

Instead it would appear these CBA negotiations are simply lining the pockets of the owners already thriving, and tossing a few more throwaway scraps to the poor southern franchises the league is supposedly holding the lockout for in the first place.

Heres a scary thought: the sucking wind NHL franchises are the very ones that will likely fold or relocate if the league ends up canceling the entire 2012-13 season. It seems almost a fait accompli that markets like Quebec City, Seattle and the suburbs of Toronto will be receiving teams in the future, and perhaps this is the final nail in the coffin before franchises like Florida, Phoenix and others move to those more favorable outposts.

Heres another scary thought: unless the NHL fixes these issues by evening out the fiscal landscape with a much larger, more all-encompassing revenue sharing component to the CBA, these problems are still going to be dragging down the NHL eight, nine or ten years from now when the league is back in lockout mode again.

So is the NHL looking for a quick fix and a quick buck or really searching for the needed sutures and gauze to stitch up their business model?

Thats up to everybody to decide, but you can probably guess where this humble hockey writer is leaning toward.

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win


Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose. 

Boston College beats UConn 39-16 in wind and rain at Fenway Park


Boston College beats UConn 39-16 in wind and rain at Fenway Park

BOSTON - AJ Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns, breaking free on a 48-yard run and a 53-yard score on Saturday night to lead Boston College to a 39-16 victory over UConn on the wet and worn-out turf at Fenway Park.

Playing most of the game in a heavy rain, with groundskeepers patching the field most every timeout, the Eagles (6-5) qualified for a bowl game for the fourth time in five seasons. UConn (3-8) showed little offense until two late touchdowns cut into a 36-point deficit.

One week after BC quarterback Anthony Brown sustained a season-ending knee injury, Darius Wade completed 7 of 15 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was helped by Dillon's running, another 107 yards rushing from Jon Hilliman and two long interception returns, including a 65-yard pick-six by Taj-Amir Torres.

Hilliman scored on 38- and 3-yard runs for BC, and Lukas Denis picked off David Pindell at the goal line and ran it back 56 yards to set up Dillon's second score.

BC led 39-3 in the fourth before Kevin Mensah ran 70 yards for a touchdown. Pindell followed by hitting Hergy Mayala for 43 yards with 4:15 left to make it 39-16.

Pindell finished with a career-high 241 yards on 14-for-33 passing, with three interceptions.

Although the century-old ballpark is less than four miles from BC's Chestnut Hill campus, UConn was officially the home team. But the opportunity to use the Red Sox clubhouse didn't help the Huskies avoid falling to 0-12-2 all-time against BC.

A 21-point favorite, BC trailed 3-0 after one quarter before Wade rolled to his left toward the Red Sox dugout and evaded tacklers long enough to find Chris Garrison in the end zone, right in front of where home plate would usually be.

Dillon dragged four defenders into the end zone - with another standing by and watching - on his 53-yard score in the second quarter, then added a 20-yard TD run in the third to make it 33-3. It was his second career 200-yard game and the first 200-yard rusher against UConn since Ray Rice did it for Rutgers in 2005.


Boston College: The Eagles are bowl-eligible for the fourth time in coach Steve Addazio's five seasons in Chestnut Hill. He's the first BC coach to go to five bowl games in his first five seasons.

UConn: The Huskies picked up a nice check - $1.25 million - and some players got the thrill of playing in Fenway Park.


Boston College announced before the game that defensive back Kamrin Moore will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury he sustained last week against North Carolina State. Moore, a captain, had started 23 consecutive games before missing Saturday night's game against UConn.

Moore finished with 140 tackles, six for a loss, and two interceptions.


Boston College missed three extra points and had a field goal blocked.


Boston College: Wraps up the regular season against Syracuse on Saturday.

UConn: Finishes its season against Cincinnati next Saturday.