Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Despite all the bluster and public disappointment, the NHL has won a fundamental philosophical concession from the PA - both sides are now de facto accepting a 50-50 split as the end point of this negotiation, as my colleague Mirtle adroitly points out.
It's not going to be either quick or easy, but the discussion over how to divide a massive pot of gold has now become a discussion over how long it should take to split it.
To grossly over-simplify, the sides are now arguing about when it should happen - year one, two or three of a five-year deal - and how quickly.
This is not a huge surprise, the PA had telegraphed its intention to accept a lower overall share of revenues this summer. The sides aren't close enough to shake hands and the main sticking point is still very sticky - how would you feel if your employer signed you to a contract at market value and then came back two months later and said 'gimme'?
But to say that we're back to square one isn't strictly true.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
(Jeremy) Jacobs, the board chairman who is believed the league’s most extreme hardliner, did provide moments of the most levity in the meeting even if unintentionally so, when, according to one player, the Boston owner announced that Bettman has the most difficult job imaginable.
“Gary has the hardest job because he represents both the players and the owners,” Jacobs is reported to have said.
That, according to our mole, prompted Fehr to ask, “Does that mean we can fire him?”
more on the negotiations...
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Now that the NHLPA has rejected the NHL's 50-50 proposal, it's clear the glimmer of hope sparked two days earlier has been snuffed out and replaced by the educated belief this season simply won't be salvaged.
And that's OK.
Truth be told, there were mixed emotions Tuesday when Gary Bettman and the owners surprised everyone with their first offering in over a month: While many fans and media types admitted it gave them an unexpected boost in optimism, they also added they were somewhat saddened as they were happy to watch the NHL continue to spiral into irrelevancy.
Now they can be happy again.
Bettman's latest offering was savvy as it gave the players a chance to save face -- a chance to get back to the bargaining table without looking like they were "caving" in any way.
What's more, it took some of the heat off owners and put it squarely on the players: Turn this down and the players look like the bad guys.
Right or wrong, that's where this is at. The players are facing the wrath of the dwindling number of fans who still care.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
When the meeting between the two sides ended, the players came down and spat insults, if not blood.
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby said it was clear the NHL does not want to negotiate in fairness. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews implied commissioner Gary Bettman could not be trusted. And Phoenix’s Shane Doan added it feels like the owners do not just want to rob the players with a new collective bargaining agreement, they also want to leave them with black eyes.
Add it up and this has the makings of a real rivalry. Responding to the NHL’s proposal on Tuesday that sought to split revenues down the middle and preserve the 82-game season, the NHLPA presented three counter-proposals on Thursday.
Each one was rejected almost immediately. And so the 18 players that attended the meetings left with the impression that the owners are no longer operating in good faith.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Soon, we're going to get through the phony posturing, the silly public-relations exercises. Meetings will happen without us knowing, they won't end in less time than it takes me to eat a tasty Peanut Buster Parfait and there won't be 850 people attending them.
Everyone's annoyed tonight. It doesn't look good, but we are gaining momentum. There are more proposals being exchanged, more meetings between the two sides. We know the cornerstone issues for the players and the owners.
It would be great if there was none of this aggravation, but as one player said back in 2004, "We're all pawns in this game."
read on for Friedman's newest idea in regards to the contract talks...
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
Even after a day in which Fehr, the NHLPA executive director, a swath of NHL players - including stars like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews - made it sound like it was game over (sorry) there is plenty of room for hope that an 82-game season is within reach.
The two sides holding the fate of a multi-billion industry built on the passion and wallets of fans certainly aren't playing games as the negotiation officially hit their brinksmanship phase.
But they are following a script. Looked at that way the torturous, boring, occasionally dramatic back-and-forth discourse between the two entrenched parties is going and it becomes a lot easier to take. They're not being idiots; they're simply bad actors sticking to their lines and hitting their marks, building up to a rousing finish.
After that the wave of optimism that swept ashore on Tuesday when the owners made an offer to the players that wasn't insulting for once, you knew the NHLPA was going to have to put on their sad clown face. And they did, right on cue.
Now, granted, it would be a better story if it weren't weighted down by numbers. As plot devices go, they’re kind of a drag.
added 6:55pm, YouTube version of Fehr meeting the media is below in case your IP is restricted for viewing by CBC.
TORONTO (October 18, 2012) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, released the following statement regarding the third Union proposal:
“The so called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players’ Association earlier today is being misrepresented. It is not a 50-50 deal. It is, most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement. The proposal contemplates paying the Players approximately $650 million outside of the Players’ Share. In effect, the Union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say ‘50-50,’ when in reality it is not. The Union told us that they had not yet ‘run the numbers.’ We did.”
added 7:45pm, The NHL.com version of the same video can be viewed below...
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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