Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
What would it take to get some traction in talks? Is there even the slightest chance Friday’s meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA, on “non-core economic issues” might provide at least some consensus, on any little thing at all (e.g. The sky is blue. Swiss league uniforms are tacky, etc.)?
I put the question to a professional mediator, Lynne Villemaire of Roundtable Mediation and Arbitration Services in Ottawa. Villemaire is a University of Ottawa graduate with a background in dispute resolution, including collective bargaining.
“The fact they’re going in Friday with an agenda that is much less contentious ... something more neutral and probably on subjects that are much easier to discuss and negotiate on is, I think personally, a fantastic strategy,” Villemaire said.
While no one is advised to hold his or her breath on Friday until white smoke rises from a new deal, the big issues should more easily be solved if there is agreement first on smaller items, such as arbitration, player contracts and Olympic participation. For example, if the NHL threw the players a bone on the Olympics, would that not help rebuild trust?
"It's not ideal If I have to miss a year, I hear sometimes it benefits the older players, but I don't think it really does. I think you have to be consistently playing, being active and all that.
"You usually train for two, two and-a-half months in the summer and then maintain (heading into training camp). But we're going on three months of training right now and it kind of gets groundhog day-ish."
-Todd Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings. More from Bertuzzi via Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News.
via John Vogl of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Because a bunch of rich guys can't figure out how to split $3.3 billion per year, it won't happen. So we started a new feature this week: Who's hurting tonight because of the lockout?
*It's the gray jacket security guards who worked the wrestling event Tuesday night in the arena and pointed people to their sections and directed them to the correct exits.
*It's the smiling woman at the concession stand who sold my son a drink and won't get paid again tonight.
*It's the ladies at the beer kiosk who sold me a Bud and appreciated the tip because they won't be getting many now.
*It's the guy who would earn money sweeping the aisles after the game.
*It's the group of people who would put up and take down the plexiglass for the boards.
Who's not hurting? The owners and players who have hardly bothered to try and get the games started.
You have to believe the owners will eventually gravitate toward accepting 50-50 as well, but right now the hardliners are simply not willing to go there. Those hardliners, we presume, include commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners whose teams are better off with no games being played than they would be if the season were a go.
Owners in bad markets (we’d put money on places like Florida, Tampa, Dallas, Columbus, Nashville, Phoenix and Carolina) have reportedly hijacked this entire process and are not willing to entertain a moderate deal.
At the same time, there are plenty of owners who want to get a deal done and are willing to come to a compromise, but at this point it seems their voices are not being heard.
-Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun where more can be read on this topic.
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
... And the answer to how to settle this thing is with a new agreement neither side is going to like all that much.
Step 1: Let the players keep the $1.87-billion they earned last season – and not a penny more.
The union’s offer comes with a 2 per cent raise in Year 1, but it’s become clear in negotiations that that’s just not going to fly.
And the league wants players to take a big pay cut via escrow next season that won’t work either.
The players have dug in on this one, and it’s really not too much to ask in Year 1 of the deal. If NHL revenues grow at 6.3 per cent (which is roughly what they’ve averaged the last eight years minus the effects of the Canadian dollar), that $1.87-billion will drop the players’ share to 53.6 per cent.
And it’ll slowly trail down from there.
Step 2: Allow the players small raises of 3 per cent annually between Years 2 and 5. That’s salary growth that should easily be outstripped by revenue growth.
Basically what that means is that if revenues grow at 6.3 per cent a year, the players’ share would decline from 53.6 per cent to 52.0, 50.4, 48.8 and 47.3 over the first five years of the agreement.
added 3:08pm, via Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly is hopeful collective bargaining with the NHL Players’ Association will resume this week, with the main executives from both sides expected to be in Toronto.
“No bargaining sessions scheduled,” Daly said Monday. “But we have kept in close contact and, obviously, it’s fair to say both sides are working. But they’re working internally right now.”...
“Obviously, we’ve got to talk before you can get a deal ” Daly said. “So I think it’s important to get the talks going again. But you also have to have something to say — and I think it’s fair to say we feel like we need to hear from the players’ association in a meaningful way, because I don’t think they’ve really moved off of their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary warned today that the lockout that is threatening the start of the NHL season might linger on and on.
"I think people don't think it can go a year," Cleary said after several Wings held an independent skate at Troy Sports Center. "As players, we think it can. Maybe longer."...
"Just trying to be realistic," Cleary said. "I think the league is waiting for us to make the move, and we're waiting for them to move. So someone has to move. And I don't see it coming from our end. We've given them a couple of good options that they can work with, and they, obviously, feel it's not good enough.
"We're at a stalemate, I guess you can say. We're stuck in the middle right now."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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