7.14.2005

joy of canada

Hockey's back! Almost.

From ALPF: it's cheaper to get sick in Canada.
The hospital cost of a coronary artery bypass procedure is nearly twice as high in the U.S. as it is in Canada. Yet despite the increased cost, there is no difference in outcome...
From Rob: Rosie O'Donnell says Canada rocks. The story is actually about gay tourism. Take that, USA: equality is good for business.

So if you're a gay hockey player with heart disease, you would definitely prefer Canada.

20 comments:

Lone Primate said...

So if you're a gay hockey player with heart disease, you would definitely prefer Canada.

Except in the winter. Does San Francisco have an NHL franchise...? :)

Anonymous said...

ah hockey... who cares!

Kinda been nice to be able to watch TV and have something else on besides it!

Peter

RobfromAlberta said...

ah hockey... who cares!

Blasphemy! Have you forgotten the national joy and subsequent heartbreak of the Calgary Flames playoff run in 2003? How about the ecstasy of the Salt Lake City Olympics? Hockey is in our blood, always will be.

L-girl said...

ah hockey... who cares!

Blasphemy!


I feel that way when people say who cares about baseball. Not in a nationalistic way (of course).

It must be how religious people feel when others "take the lord's name in vain".

RobfromAlberta said...

Hockey is a benign means of venting our nationalistic bloodlust. Certainly, we could never vanquish the superpower Americans or Soviets on the battlefield, but give us a sheet of ice, a puck and some sticks and we will reign victorious. I think those damnable Czechs get the same thrill when they do it to us (although, I'm sure they love beating the Russians way more).

G said...

Yeah, it's a happy day.

I do like having the game back. It is a pasttime, it is something I enjoy whining, and hey, this whole year off gave us all some great laughs, too.

Now multi-multi-millionaires will while about only being multi-millionaires or even simple lowly millionaires (oh, the horror!) as if their sufferance should be something the world ought to care about.

I like the game, but the bubble in which its players reside is something else. Salaries rise and egos inflate, because one guy gets paid a ton of money to go to another team, someone else says hey, I'm better than he is, pay me the same, and the dominoes fall. And a lockout ensues. Again.

Thank god for the cap. It won't deflate the egos any, but it may limit how much they can grow - finally. Well, maybe not. We still see in the NFL ... although they have no limit on what an individual can make, which the NHL will have (20% of team cap or something).

Maybe good days for the sport do lie ahead ... wouldn't that be nice ...

L-girl said...

I applaud the players for making all the money they can, and I decry salary caps. Unless there's a profit cap for owners, there should be no salary caps.

In baseball, the players are millionaires, sure. But the owners are bazillionaires. Owners claim to be bleeding money, but they refuse to open their books to prove it. Meanwhile, people pay millions of dollars just for the chance to bid on owning a team. Hard to believe anyone would do that if there was no profit in it.

In the history of sports, players have generally gotten a very small share, while owners have gotten rich off the athletes' talent and hard work. Now players finally get a substantial piece of the pie, which is their due.

I never understand why people complain about how much professional athletes earn, but not about how much TV or movie stars earn, or pop stars.

An athlete's career is much shorter and more tenuous. Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise can work until old age, not even do good work, and still make tons of money. If a professional athlete turned in the kind of crap Robert DeNiro's been making lately, he's out of a job. But no one complains about how rich DeNiro is.

Wall street guys make a ton of money, and contribute nothing to society. But no one complains about them.

This isn't directed at you, G. Your comment obviously reflects a commonly held opinion. I just don't get it.

RobfromAlberta said...

The difference is, sports leagues are supposed to be competitive. The whole point of the organization is that teams are supposed to be able to compete with one another on a more-or-less even footing. Sure, some teams are better than others, but there is not supposed to be a built-in economic advantage that ensures some teams will always be competitive, while others will never be. This may be hard for a Yankees fan to understand, but for small-market sports teams, it is heartbreaking to always lose your favourite players to free agency.

L-girl said...

I totally understand that. I just don't think the difference should come out of the players' pockets only.

In baseball, there are incredibly wealthy owners who refuse to spend money on their teams. They don't give a shit if the team wins or loses. They are just cheap. Why should they be subsidized?

If the goal is parity, both players and owners should pony up.

L-girl said...

but there is not supposed to be a built-in economic advantage that ensures some teams will always be competitive, while others will never be.

You do know this is as old as professional sports, right? It was true when the players were paid crap.

By the way, no Yankee fans here. :) But your point is taken, as both Yankees and Red Sox have a ton of cash and are willing to spend it.

Slim Bacon said...

Well im just happy its coming back. The only positive thing that came out of this was Toronto's first and only undefeated season.


It will be interesting what the teams look like when it starts up again. Some of them will look completely different than when they left for the lock out.

Don't ever go away again!

Lone Primate said...

All I know is, it was nice to be able to hit the bars on Friday night for a solid year and actually be able to hold a conversation, however slurred. I'm gonna miss that. :/

Lone Primate said...

I applaud the players for making all the money they can, and I decry salary caps. Unless there's a profit cap for owners, there should be no salary caps.

$10 tickets would be a swell one. I've been to exactly one Leafs game in my life, and that's because my buddy's manager couldn't use his tickets that night. Well, at least I made it to the Gardens before they closed it. :)

G said...

The cap issue is a tricky one, LG, and I do hear where you are coming from.

But.

The money in hockey is not the same as the money in baseball. There is far less of it generated, far less to go around. The only bazillionaire owners might be the Rangers, and we see what good that's done them the last decade.

Frankly, most teams cannot afford a bunch of 6 million dollar men. It's not feasible - they don't make enough money. Teams like Winnipeg and Quebec had to leave Canada because of that. Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa are all constantly on the brink. Buffalo is run by the league right now (kinda like the Expos were in baseball). It doesn't help that it is a winter sport with teams in the Southern US, so interest is limited once it's no longer the new chic event in town.

When there is such little money to go around, and players are demanding more than is available, hell yeah, there should be a cap! Football and Basketball both did it - and their popularity is far beyond that of hockey. But a franchise needs to profit to stay in a city - it is a business - and costs of running a business rise aside from just salary - hence an owner cap could spell doom for an entire league, in any sport. But a player cap? Hey, they're just employees. They claim it themselves every time they hit free agency - it's a business. Great. The ceiling salary for my position, in the field in general, is somewhere around 45,000 (which I make far less than btw). If I had an unlimited ceiling, awesome, but I don't. Only so much money available to go around the county ... if I demanded an unreasonable amount solely because someone in another system makes that, I'd be out. Gone. Bcause the money is not there and won't be anytime soon. Which is, in effect, an implicit cap system of it's own.

In sports leagues, which are businesses, salary caps are no different. Money spent by owners on salaries is a percentage of monies coming in from the past year. It's tied to the revenues, and changes yearly depending on how much money is available to go around in a given year. Simple as that. And, frankly, about time. If players want to keep talking like they are in a business, then they better be ready to be treated like it.

L-girl said...

As long as there's a profit cap, too. Then it's no problem.

If you're going to explicitly limit the amount of money employees can earn, then limit the amount of profit the owners can earn. Books have to be open, all income has to be shown - media rights, merchandising, concessions - and anything above the earnings cap has to be put into a pot to be shared by all teams - and put back into the team, not into owners' pockets. Then a salary cap is fine.

But you'll never see this. Wealthy players are an easy scapegoat, but it's only half the story.

The implicit salary cap on your job isn't really analogous, since presumably your salary comes out of public funds. The city you work for doesn't sell media rights or T-shirts or overpriced beer or stadium naming rights (we hope). It's not a profit-making concern.

If hockey is so strapped for funds, why did the NHL expand to so many new cities? That might be clue they are richer than they admit.

RobfromAlberta said...

There is actually revenue-sharing involved in the new deal the NHL has signed, so the burden is not placed solely on the shoulders of the players.

As for expansion, I think you've got it backwards. Expansion is a sign of desperation, not prosperity. Every new team is required to pay a franchise fee to the league which is distributed among the rest of the teams. Too much expansion is a sign the league needs the added revenue.

L-girl said...

There is actually revenue-sharing involved in the new deal the NHL has signed, so the burden is not placed solely on the shoulders of the players.

That's good. I hope the revenue-sharing deal is more effective than the one MLB has.

The so-called revenue sharing in baseball doesn't contain any provision that the recipients must put the money back into the team. In other words, George Steinbrenner's money can go right into the pockets of the owner of the Twins, Royals and Athletics. Those teams can keep crying poverty, and never account for the extra dough.

Expansion is a sign of desperation, not prosperity. Every new team is required to pay a franchise fee to the league which is distributed among the rest of the teams. Too much expansion is a sign the league needs the added revenue.

Yes, you're right, it is a sign of desperation, which ends up further weakening the league. What I meant is why would so many people pay so much money to own an unprofitable business? I have a hard time believing the franchises are as unprofitable as the owners say.

The Cubs, for example, are supposed to be a small team without much revenue. Yet they are owned by the Tribune Company, a huge, rich media conglomerate. If they wanted to spend more money on the Cubs, they could. They choose not to, then cry that George Steinbrenner and John Henry (Red Sox owner) spend too much.

Same for the White Sox. The owner of the White Sox owns the Chicago Bulls, for chrissakes. But the White Sox are supposed to be poor.

I just think since we know players' salaries, we should see the owners' books, too. But we don't. There must be a reason for that.

G said...

Yeah but again you're assuming the economics are the same, which they aren't.

The TV deals are what does it. NHL in Canada has CBC. Not much money there. In the US, the TV deal is also next to nothing.

Unlike baseball where the revenue coming in from televised exposure is phenomenal.

There is a limited fan base to begin with, hence the shitty TV deal, but what makes this a self-destructive cycle is the fact that it will be next to impossible to build a fan base without a better TV deal than they have now (especially since they just lost ESPN in the lockout - think they have a minor package from NBC for the odd Sunday game - woo hoo BIG bucks there [sneer]).

Anonymous said...

Well, I wouldn't pretend to understand the specifics of the hockey situation. I do think the principles are the same for all pro sports, only to a different scale. I know most people don't agree.

L-girl on iPAQ

G said...

I do agree with you in terms of principle ... but there is a reality that a profit cap could, in hockey's case, actually work against the existence of several teams ... and not just those in the recent expansion blitz, either. Teams that have been around for 20 plus years are on the brink also.

And there was a report, in the early stages of the lockout, the owners did commission a report release their revenues (hmmm) which backed their claims (hmmm). Levitt, I think. Which the players disagreed with, of course. So they had one done themselves (hmmm) which was of course more befitting of their views (hmmm). Up to the fans who to believe on that one.