You Lie, And Yo' Breath Stank

Ok, that's a first I think. First Infectious Grooves reference in a title. Glad we got that in before The Big Goodbye next week. I have a list of things to get through before then, gotta make sure I keep scratching them off.

You've seen it by now, but apparently the league thought it could use Renaud Lavoie of Quebec's RDS as a bullhorn to pump out some pretty hilarious bullshit. Maybe they thought we wouldn't pay attention to a French reporter or he wouldn't write it in English (though French bullshit tends to smell worse, as does anything French really), but of course as soon as this hit the Twitter- and blog-sphere, it was getting more laughs than...uh....Louis CK in a nitrous-leaked room? You know what, my comedian days are over, shut up!

Right, so anyway the claim was that the NHL lost $240 million bucks the past two years, or basically one Alex Rodriguez in his prime. Dirk Hoag, or favorite Michgian-transplanted Tennessean not named Jack White (sorry Dirk, but you've got a lot more albums to release to catch up) crunched the easily laughed out of the room numbers yesterday. It's good stuff, but I thought we could take it a bit farther.

Dirk concludes that in order to piss away that much money, the league would have had to had over 1.3 billion in costs other than player salaries. He also bumps up the percentage of the $3.2 billion revenue that goes to the players to 60%, to account for players in the minors and other costs. So don't throw around your claims of Cristobal Huet and Rusty Olesz, because Dirk already has.

In order for the league to reach that 1.4 billion total (the amount it would need to be twice in order for this loss-number to be true), each team would have to have costs other than player salaries of $43 million. That means trainers, coaches, lawyers, travel costs, other employees and whatever marketing they have to do adds up to that.

Now you might think that doesn't sound all that unreasonable, but that hasn't even factored in what other income teams might have outside of the league-spread HHR. The concessions at the stadium (which good ol' Rocky provides himself, so he's not paying for that, at least the booze), the locals that advertise and market through them, their TV deals in their markets, the other events they have in buildings they own. And of course, the complete crime that is parking.

In order for this to be true, each team would have to be losing somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million each year. Of course, the $30 million drag that is the Phoenix Coyotes are would get you a long way to that number, if they weren't cancelled out several times over by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Add in all the other Canadian teams that are simply rolling in it these days, and it looks like a mountain that the Panthers, Stars, Ducks and whatever other team might be losing money can climb. And I doubt the Flyers, Rangers, Hawks, Capitals, Bruins, Kings, and Wings are helping them climb that mountain of loss either.

Obviously, none of us buy this. And as Ryan Lambert posted today at Puck Daddy, it's way curious that this number slips out now, instead of when a first offer was made back in July. This sounds like an attempt to gain some traction in the PR war, but it's already lost them more ground (don't you wish bullshit like this spouted in the presidential election would similarly get laughed out of town instead of treated as gospel by one side or the other?).

So there's a sliver of hope, I guess. I know the owners are greedy, but they're also vain, and they don't like looking stupid. At some point, a few of them are going to get tired of being portrayed as total putzes. There are actually some rumors of division amongst the owners already. They won't become true fissures and and gaps until gate revenues are lost, which won't save the entire season. But because of all this, there'll be hockey at some point before you're welcoming in 2013. Just feel it.

Of course, that probably won't save me from the soup kitchen, but I'll pay that price.