Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustraded (Thursday edition),
Bettman can suggest that revenue sharing "will not make or break" these negotiations, as he did in a post meeting press briefing yesterday. But since that's the main plank in the NHLPA platform, it illustrates that the two sides are not even close to speaking the same language.
The players are willing to take less money, but for their sacrifice they want a new system in place, a more effective revenue sharing model among the teams. The owners want to guarantee that they retain more revenue through a significant diminishment of salaries.
Is there any reason to expect that to change before Sept. 15? Hardly. The reality is that the owners have no motivation to make "meaningful" concessions at this point.
They'll continue to play their shell game, moving the ball around the table in a way that makes their offer seem more palatable to the public while the clock winds down and the pressure begins to weigh on the union.
The NHLPA took the offer home last night to mull over. It's likely that much "meaningful" laughter ensued, but they have to know they're up against it. Their response when the two sides meet again today will be telling.
After about 90 minutes, the meeting is over for the day.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
Details of the proposal were provided to The Canadian Press by a source. The NHL has drawn up a six-year deal that includes three years at a fixed salary cap — similar to the NHLPA's proposal two weeks ago — before returning to a system where the cap is based on overall league revenues with a 50-50 split.
According to the source, the offer doesn't include rollbacks for current contracts, meaning Sidney Crosby would earn all $104.4 million of the 12-year extension he signed with Pittsburgh earlier this summer and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter could each collect the $98 million they were promised by the Minnesota Wild....
The NHL's latest proposal would call for a dramatic change next season. According to the source, players are being asked to give back 11 per cent in 2012-13, which would set the salary cap at $58 million — more than $12 million less than where it would have been under the expiring CBA.
While current contracts wouldn't be rolled back like they were in 2005, players would have to pay more in escrow to accommodate for the lowered cap. Modified rules on contracts would also be introduced.
from the CP via TSN,
"It's a proposal that we intend to respond to," said Fehr. "I'll leave it at that."
The current collective agreement expires Sept. 15 and the NHL has it will lock the players out if a new deal isn't reached by then.
Fehr and top assistant Steve Fehr met with commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy Bill Daly on Tuesday morning at the NHL's offices in New York.
The Fehr brothers left the morning session to consult with their constituents, but returned four hours later with players Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey and Douglas Murray.
The afternoon session ended in under an hour, with both sides agreeing to meet again after the players' association thoroughly reviewed the new proposal.
"I'm encouraged that we're talking, to be honest with you," said Darche, who added that it's obvious the league took time to come up with the new proposal.
"We believe that we made a significant, meaningful step," said Bettman after the second session.
Now that the two sides have met this afternoon, news is starting to trickle in.
Even though all signs point against a new CBA by September 15th, why does my gut tell me it will be agreed upon?
Maybe it is just the "fan" in me, hoping against all hope but if you look at this logically, there is no way there should be a lockout, even for one day.
Both sides have too much to lose by not reaching an agreement.
Hopefully they realize that and come to an agreement before this gets real ugly.
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
During a two-day information session with union leaders at an upscale Toronto hotel, National Hockey League players were shown graphs, given handouts and asked to absorb some of the data culled from the more than 76,000 pages of financial documents provided by the league last month.
Max Talbot took notes.
“It is scary, as a whole, but it is way simpler than most people think,” the Philadelphia Flyers forward said. “And Don is such a good communicator. You should see a room when he talks. He keeps our focus for four hours straight.”
Don is Donald Fehr, the long-time baseball union leader who became executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association two years ago. He was holding the last of the union’s regional meetings on Friday in Toronto, with a session that lasted close to three hours. Since the NHL delivered its first collective bargaining proposal last month, Fehr has been across the world to discuss strategy with union members. The 64-year-old has travelled to Moscow, Barcelona, Chicago and Kelowna, B.C., to discuss strategy, face-to-face.
from Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
Siding with ownership has been difficult in any of sport’s “labor wars” of the last 30-40 years. But the NHL owners may have captured the gold medal for incompetence with their threats to lock out the players in three weeks.
Seriously, this is going to happen. And for many of you, I realize the next question is: So what?
That’s one of the problems that commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners just don’t get. I’ve always thought instead of having league offices in New York and Toronto, they should move them to say, Raleigh, N.C., and Phoenix to get a better grip on just how relevant their sport isn’t in some of their own communities….
The owners’ problem is that the players now have longtime baseball negotiator Donald Fehr on their side. Fehr’s a man who (no pun intended) must live in fear of those late-night phone calls from his mentor, 95-year-old Marvin Miller, saying, “You gave the owners what?”
I would love to think that after Bettman met with Fehr in Toronto on Wednesday, owners will realize what they’re up against and propose something realistic that will lead to a settlement.
But that’s putting enormous belief in the sanity and intelligence of an ownership group that historically has shown us little of either one.
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
What is getting easier to predict is that the opportunities to prevent a lockout—and perhaps a long one—are beginning to run short. There is frustration creeping in on both sides and the feeling in the owners camp is that if the players aren’t willing to move their position on Tuesday there might be a real impasse and talks will simply break down.
“Sometimes the best way to get a deal is to take a break,” said one source close to the negotiations.
For obvious reasons—history being the main one—the players don’t trust the owners, arguing that even should Bettman show some flexibility in how to achieve the salary cuts he wants, a salary cut is a salary cut is a salary cut.
Meanwhile the owners aren’t sure what to make of Fehr at this stage; how much of the resistance he’s been showing is posturing and how much is real.
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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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