Caught in the CBA Crossfire

 

As I read and keep up on the “progress” of the NHL and NHLPA collective bargaining agreement talks, I can’t help but become upset, and at times, angry. Why? It’s because we have two sides that are “duking out” some sort of agreement that involves millions and millions of dollars. Figures many of the average NHL hockey fan cannot even begin to conjure up in his/her mind. Figures that many of us fans can only see if we ever won a lottery. It’s not because I am bitter about how much money the owners, the league and the players have in their pockets, or how they live their lifestyles. I’m upset and angry because, the two sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t the only ones that are affected by a possible lockout.

My concerns go to the people who have jobs in the arenas, the office of various NHL franchises and those that have ties with the NHL and/or franchises. People like you and I that work for a living to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. What happens to them during all this? As I dropped my 15 year old daughter off to work this morning, I got thinking about all those that will possibly be affected. My daughter works special events for various event companies and also for the catering company I own. It is very similar to many that work at Rogers Arena and many of the other arenas across the league, they make a living working the games and special events that happen.

CBA Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA hold up more than revenue sharing percentage quibbles.

The NHL has 41 regular season games a year, a handful of pre-season games and possibly some playoff games for the arena staff to work. An average salary in Vancouver would be around $14-16 an hour and about a six to eight hour  shift for such events. Let’s ballpark that to $105 a game per employee. Over a the course of the regular season of 41 games that’s $4,305 in wages per employee. Multiply that by about 150 people it becomes a cumulative approximate total of $645,750 of wages for the people to help run the NHL events of the arena.  The NHL league minimum is $525,000. The difference between one NHL player earning the league minimum and 150 NHL arena employees is $120,750. It is not a whole lot of difference is it? The $120,750 is also divided by 149 more people than what the low end of what a players makes in the NHL.

While the NHLPA may be losing wages throughout this whole ordeal, many of the players have hazard pay, strike pay, whatever you want to call it. What about the arena workers? Many are forced to seek other means employment in a day and age where having a job is harder to come by each and every passing day, no matter what education and work experience one may have. There are only so many jobs to go around.

So when the owners and the players decide to put the fate of the average people in their hands to bargain about billions and millions of dollars, “Joe” at the concession stand is going to go and look for a new job to cover the 41 games he will not be getting paid if there is an NHL lockout to cover the $4,305 he will shorted on his salary for the year. NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman makes a base salary of $5,529,490. I get it, he has a lot of responsibility, more so than a guy that runs a concession stand at your local NHL arena when it comes to the league, but “Joe” has responsibilities as well. “Joe” has bills to pay, put a roof over “Joe’s” head and mouths to feed. I know that $4,305 is just a suit in Gary Bettman’s closet, but that’s 1.5-2.0 months of wages to “Joe”.

NHL Commission Gary Bettman wants a deal done by September 15 or the league will lockout the players…and fans.

As a season ticket holder for the Vancouver Canucks, I’ve gotten to know some of the arena workers over the years, a few of them I consider friends. Although, the ones I do know are very capable of finding other employment in the hospitality and service industry, it bugs to me to think that they have to even do such a thing. It also bothers me to know that fans who have paid their hard-earned money to purchase ticket packages for the Vancouver Canucks and other teams year in and year out are again held hostage to negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. That’s three times in Gary Bettman’s tenure as NHL Commissioner. That’s three times too many in this fan’s opinion.

As many fans all around the league hope for a better outcome of these negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA, many of those could possibly be affected by an impending lockout are now forced to find different avenues to make a living.

So my message to the league and the players’ union is: Keep quibbling over percentages of millions of dollars each side gets, but get it done soon. You are not the only ones affected by this dark cloud looming over the NHL’s upcoming season. Some of us (fans) are getting tired of the constant threat of a lockout or a strike. So while you drive your luxury cars to your meetings, some of us are just wanting to make sure we have money to put gas in our cars or to buy a transit pass to make our way to work…that is, if you allow us.
Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Canucks Creed: A Lil Faith, Please

Seeing all the negativity on twitter, on Facebook and all over the internet about how the Vancouver Canucks are done as dinner. It may be a truth, but it is not yet so. Until it’s final that the Vancouver Canucks are no longer part of the playoff race, I choose to remain faithful and believe in them.  I decided to make my own hockey prayer of the Apostles’ Creed and call it the Canucks Creed.

The Canucks last supper? Maybe, but keep faith. Photo Credit: Ray Galang

Canucks Creed

I believe in hockey gods,Lord Stanley almighty,
Creator of the cherished cup,and in Captain Hank,
our only voice, our leader
who was conceived with a twin spirit, Danielborn of the Swedish viking,
suffered under Dustin Brown’s hit|
was knocked down; winded and weary;
he descended to the ice;
in the same period he rose again from the hit;
he then ascended into a 3:20 minute shift,
I believe Cory or Luongo, neither will falter,
although it is 0-3 is how the Kings have led
I believe in the hockey spirit,the shot of Sami Salo,
the determination of Kelser,the speed of Jannik Hansen,
the resurrection of my team,
and the cup dream everlasting.

Amen

The boys are yet to be eliminated. It could be tonight, it could be next week, or maybe it could be never this season.  I refuse to concede defeat when the last battle has not yet to take place. I ask you all to join me in ‘prayer’ and keep the faith. It may be a last ditch effort, but it is our duty as Canucks fans to believe, keep faith, and hope for the dream to stay alive.

GO CANUCKS GO!

 

Justine Galo

twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

Define Tough? Answer: Henrik Sedin

I think I am not going to write about the 0-3 series lead the Los Angeles Kings have over the Vancouver Canucks so far in the first round of the NHL playoffs. In fact, I’m sure there are 500 other blogs about it from all over the blog-es-sphere. So I won’t rehash it. I do however want share a small experience and why I think the toughest guy in the NHL isn’t a prototypical NHL tough guy. He doesn’t fight, he doesn’t get in too many people’s faces and he sure isn’t what you call an ‘intimidating’ figure, but yes, I do sure feel that Henrik Sedin is one tough S.O.B.

This was all inspired after the Dustin Brown hit on Henrik early in the game. A tweeter put out there:

“Sedin currently day to day with a strained labia”

How ‘creative’ this person was! No one has ever heard the Sedins referred to as women before! Wow, I hate to break it to you, but I think that joke actually started in Vancouver in 1999 during Henrik and Daniel’s first training camp. You’re a little late to the party.

Another insinuation that Henrik Sedin is a wimp because he doesn’t ‘fight back’ or have any ‘testicular fortitude’.  Frankly I’m sick of it hearing how much of a ‘p*ssy’ Henrik is and the lack of respect he doesn’t get because in their eyes he’s not ‘tough’. I hate to break to you out of shape sports writers and ‘avid’ fans but he is damn tough. Why? Because he’s lasted over 560 games straight in the NHL without missing one.

It takes a tough man to take the abuse Henrik takes on the ice and do his job night in and night out. It takes a tough man to train rigorously in the off-season to make sure he takes the precautions to have a long career and a strong season. Wow, he’s smart also.  Most of all it takes strong man to go out there to do all this for over 560 games as many ignorant fans all around the NHL, call him a ‘p*ssy’, a ‘faggot’ and the one he and brother seem to always hear is that he is a woman.  My reaction tweet to that was:

@Aviewfromabroad: Hank takes his hits, keeps his mouth shut and keeps on playing. Leading by example. If that makes him a girl, he’s all woman. #Canucks

Another point that I need to address is what makes ‘demeaning’ Henrik or any other man on earth to refer to them as women, is a very misogynistic attitude towards the fairer sex and there is no real need for such insults in this day and age. As a woman, I certainly don’t appreciate having men referred to as women. Are you saying we are not equal enough in your eyes? Go back to the 1950’s please, we don’t need you in this modern world. Alright, back to Henrik.

There are different definitions of toughness in hockey. One is that of guys that can duke it out on the ice. Others have a mental toughness to keep their nerves calms in high pressure situations. One is to endure abuse day in and day out on the ice (and off) and continue to do your job, (well might I add) to the best of your abilities without games interrupted, season after season. The last one is what Henrik Sedin embodies and anyone with an ounce of intelligence of hockey will see what level toughness it takes to be the Ironman of the NHL, over 560 games tough.

Hey but according to that tweet and its writer that inspired all this, what do I know? I’m only a broad.

 

Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Second Place Is Not Enough?

Can Roberto Luongo go back to mid-season form in 13 games?

With the recent struggles of the Vancouver Canucks, the whole city is abuzz with a mild form of ‘controlled’ panic. Many fans and media alike are asking the same question, “What is the matter with the Vancouver Canucks?” Why are they not playing like the team we have been used to seeing dominate over the past season and half? What happened to the Sedins? Luongo is no longer focusing like he was from November to February! What is up with the team’s defense?

I’m not saying it’s not frustrating seeing games the Canucks should be winning but not. At the same time, as Tom Benjamin said in his blog here on Canucks Corner, there is nothing any of us in the stands, at home watching on TV or those listening on the radio can do about it. We can’t go to the players and give motivational speeches, that’s not our job. Our job is simple to cheer, grin and bare it and hope.

Some then question, why aren’t our stars playing like stars? Personally I find that our stars get over-analyzed by other blogs, media-types and every fan expert on every message board there is out there. Let’s hope the boys don’t read most of the criticisms going on out in cyber space that they have those little drops of doubt in their head that weren’t there before.  Seriously, how many times can we talk about how the Sedins aren’t point-per game players at the moment? We’re so spoiled sometimes, seeing back to back Art Ross wins by twin brothers and so we expect it every year.

I am a little concerned about the number of odd man rushes that the Canucks have been giving up. I count entirely too many the last five games and that is a trend that causes a small quiet (and muffled) alarm go off inside me. The worst part about it is, a lot of those opportunities either become good scoring chances and even goals on both Schneider and Luongo. The defensive game has become very loosey goosey the last little while and I would like to see that come to an abrupt end.

As far as scoring goes? Except for Ryan Kesler, maybe everyone needs to take more shooting lessons. Perhaps some of us fans should go out there and ‘show them how its done’! Can you imagine the lessons the guys could get from us? I am cringing at the thought. Let the players be the ones to ‘correct’ themselves. We have nothing to offer them in terms of how to play the game. All we can do is cheer.

We live in a city that is in anticipation for the playoffs, and we had concerns last year that the Canucks didn’t have anymore gas at the end. This year, we’re complaining that they might get stuck in this rut before the playoffs and we’re even subconsciously predicting a first round exit with the present play of our team. We’ve been spoiled from last year until we hit game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks could not lose and when they didn’t look like they were going to make it, they found ways to win.  I think we have grown to expect that for this season.

Hammer and Higgins hugging it out.

What we should have expected is the perhaps the Canucks are feeling a little like a few of their fans. Playoffs on their mind and the season couldn’t end fast enough. I know that’s how I feel. It’s obvious with my lack of blogs, my lack of interest to going to all the games this season, that I am in anticipation for April.  Yes, they may lose a few more games, but I don’t see them losing all of them. The team isn’t going to win any top individual awards this year, they most like aren’t going to win the President’s Trophy. Heck from where we are standing right now, the Canucks aren’t even in line for first place in the Western Conference. They are still in 2nd place, for now and I don’t see them getting bumped out of it by anyone in the near future.

However, as we all felt from last year in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, second place isn’t enough.
Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

(Aaron) Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Robo-Rome on a scoring tear.

At the end of last season, everyone remembered Rome for being that guy that hit Nathan Horton and got the longest suspension during the playoffs ever. At the beginning of this season, no one cared if Rome came back to the Canucks with the improved play of Ballard and a healthy (*crosses fingers*) Sami Salo.

In the last few games, Aaron Rome has become a twitter favourite with the hash-tags #Vote4Rome or #Rome4Norris by scoring three goals as well as helping out on a few for others along the way. Not bad for a guy that was Public Enemy #1 for the anti-Canucks fans during the Stanley Cup Finals. Is it just pure luck or is Aaron Rome a newly founded secret scoring weapon the Canucks finally unleashed?

A poster on here on CanucksCorner.com suggested Rome was ‘Frankensteined’ with some of Kesler’s DNA when he broke his finger and the new Bionic-Rome was the result. It could very well be what has transpired. After all, Rome had 1 goal during his tenure with the Canucks prior to what has happened this season. It’s a perfectly logical explanation.

Frankly, I don’t care what happened to get Rome going on the score-sheet, what matters is he’s getting on the score-sheet. Theories and all the half-joking aside, Aaron Rome has become the Canucks trending topic when they play and in my opinion it’s not all luck but seizing opportunities that were presented to him.

I’m not Alain Vigneault so I don’t see what these guys contribute to the team on a daily basis. However, he saw something in Aaron Rome to have some sense to put him as a point man on the power-play. Whatever it was Vigneault saw, it’s working. With each  passing game, Rome has no reservations shooting the puck, when in the past, he hasn’t always done so. Call it favouritism, call it a hunch, call it what you will, but Rome scoring is a good thing not only for the Canucks and also for the man himself. Oh yeah, Christian who? Rome has more goals than the Sabres German blueliner so far this season.

Whatever has Aaron Rome scoring and racking up the points on the backend, let’s hope he keeps it up. In doing so, this blogger is going to donate $10 per goal that Aaron Rome scores this season to the Canucks for Kids Fund. And for the fans out there supporting our new scoring sensation, keep doing so. I’m hoping to donate more than the $30 that’s already allocated for Rome’s goals.

So no pressure, Aaron, but I’m sure you can at least have me donating triple figures.

Justine Galo
Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad