We had Alan Hahn on for another (often times, hilarious, if I do say so myself) 50 commercial-free minutes last night. And, so since I have today off, I figured I’d write up a mini-transcript (a Hahnscript?). So here goes:
--There is no steroid program in the NHL, at all. Probably not a strength or power issue for the league, but could affect skating speed. Would only prolong CBA negotiations if it was made an issue. He thinks it’s a shame that the Steroid revelations in baseball will open up every single athlete to questions, and will give already skeptical fans another reason to be skeptical.
--Every time a hockey story has a chance to get a back page, something like Artest or Giambi comes up, taking priority over this “stupid little argument over whether there will be a silly salary cap or not. Hockey can’t even get its controversies right.”
--“Don’t get too excited over the latest news. The good news is that they are talking. The better news is that they are talking CBA. But, the problem is that Bettman wants a salary cap, the union doesn’t, and anything other just won’t fly.”
--This is a more serious proposal than September’s. A 10% rollback of all current contracts would be ‘huuuge.’ Just think of how much money it would mean for guys like Yashin and Jagr. But, the unrestricted free agents wouldn’t mind, as it would not hurt them.”
--He spoke with a player yesterday who thinks that an arbitration concession (not making it so player-centered, and using it as a mechanism to correct some bad contracts) could get the owners off the salary cap. Hahn is not optimistic that that is enough.
--Hahn has been working on a story on Milbury calling the season ticket holders (complete with funny Milbury quotes), but it keeps getting bumped. The idea to call was Milbury’s alone. Said Hahn, “What else can he be doing now anyway? The scouts are doing their jobs, and he is not a guy who can sit still.”
--Milbury’s reason for calling was to show that “fans are important to us, and it gives me (Milbury) an opportunity to talk hockey with the fans.”
--Milbury has no set order. He picks random names from the list. Some he gets, others he leaves messages. Some people quiz him to make sure that it’s him. When Hahn asked if he cringes when he gets yelled at by fans, Milbury said “It’s a phone call. I can always hang up."
--Hahn was not aware of the Best Buy event, as it is being kept ultra-secret and the media is not supposed to know about it. He did say that if they are reaching like this in December, “what will they do in February?” We then debated whether it would be Quizno’s, Dairy Barn, Baja Fresh or the 7/11.
--Alan has gotten some good feedback on his book, and appeared on other radio programs, TV55 and ESPN’s “Cold Pizza.” The publishing company is pleased as it’s selling well, but he had to convince them that it was a very good idea to release it during a Lockout, as they did not want to do so.
--I mentioned that I loved the new book, and am only reading Fishsticks for the first time right now. He joked, “And you call yourself an Islanders fan! Fishsticks is the bible! It should be passed down from generation to generation, preferably buying a new copy each time.” He said that Botte wants him to package the old book and the new book, just to share in some royalties. I asked if it was it paperback, Hahn said “Yeah, it’s shredded.”
--Tonight (Friday 12/3) is the last chance to get a signed copy for the Holidays. He will be appearing at the Waldenbooks in the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove from 7PM to 9PM. He has had 2 book signings so far, and only 3 people have shown up. He said that he will sign any of your books (even if you bought it already) and talk hockey for hours with anyone who shows up tonight. (Patchy Note: If you live in the area and have some time, please try to go meet him.)
This is Part 1 of 2. I will finish up later. And, like before, just PM me if you want a CD copy. Thanks!
--The union’s offer was a “predictable move, a last second making of a serious counter-offer.” It’s a “win-win for the union. If the league accepts it, great. If it’s rejected, ‘oh well, we tried,’ and the union walks away looking good by either saving the league or proving that Bettman is stubborn.”
--If it is rejected, Goodenow will wait until August, the time when camps would be starting up again. There will be “7 months of dead silence.”
--The impasse route can be tried at any time, but “how can you go to the NLRB if you haven’t even been trying to reach agreement?”
--If there is no season, the Draft will be postponed and Sidney Crosby will have to sit and wait. The Draft would then be held immediately after the agreement in August, conducted over the phones like in the old days. The so-called next Gretzky (Crosby) would then be drafted over the telephone, with no holding up of a jersey or photo with Bettman.
--Alan has not been to Bridgeport since the first Hartford-Bridgeport game. In fact, he has not watched a hockey game in person since October, and doesn’t plan to, either. “If the interest isn’t there, it is difficult to sell the idea to the paper when there is no big commitment of fans going, or outcry for it.”
--The 11/26 game WAS going to be played at the Coliseum, but was pulled by the Isles because they could not guarantee $50,000. Season ticket holders would have been given the tickets for free, so they would not even counted against that total.
--He has been told by someone at the Islanders that a few games will be moved to the NVMC “just to keep the sport alive.”
--“You can start calling for cancelled games, or you can wait for Mike to call you!”
--Alan PROMISES that tickets will be cheaper after the new CBA.
--He feels that lowering ticket prices is the “#1 thing to do.”
--“If there is a half a season, there will be major discounts just to get people in the house.”
--Alan told Gary Bettman a few weeks ago, “If you want to cap salaries and what players can make, why don’t you cap ticket prices and what owners can make?” Bettman told him, “You can’t treat every market the same way.” Alan responded, “But aren’t you treating all of the players the same way?”
--No news on the arena. But, he has learned that SMG is NOT the hurdle, and that they have been negotiating in good faith. Their only demand is having something in writing that they will be part of the plans.
--Alan has no idea on the status of the story on Kumar’s ownership, except that it sounds like he is being phased out. The issue is tied up with the league, which is tied up with the Lockout. “And besides, Kumar’s got enough problems of his own.”
We then had Alan do our football picks with us, complete with self-denigration and jokes about Evan Grossman (who was listening). We also spent a few minutes on Tecmo Bowl!
Just a reminder: I'm having Alan Hahn on live again tonight at 9:45 PM.
Show Info: Tonight 9PM to 11PM on Garden City's 90.3 FM. It's followed by a Springsteen show at 11PM and then I'm sitting in to co-host "A Very 80's Christmas" from Midnight to 2AM and repeated on Saturday (Christmas Day) night from 10PM to Midnight. We're live and we'll be taking requests! Every show on that station is commercial-free (and no one makes a dime from it), so if you need continuous Christmas music from Friday 12 Noon to Sunday for entertaining purposes, just leave it on. It will save you from having to switch discs.