Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
The first tense moments of the NHL’s collective bargaining negotiations have arrived.
With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr not scheduled to sit across from one another until the middle of next week and the sides unable to even agree on the core issues that need to be addressed, a sense of uneasiness has suddenly enveloped the talks.
After Wednesday’s session, in which the NHL dismissed the union’s initial proposal, Fehr set off for pre-scheduled player meetings in Chicago. The union boss will also oversee a session with players in Kelowna, B.C., before returning to Toronto and resuming CBA discussions on Aug. 22.
At that point, the league and its players’ association will have just 24 days left to reach a new agreement and avoid a lockout.
But where do they start? There is very little common ground between the proposals each side has put forth and neither seems particularly willing to move off its current position.
From where the owners are sitting, the deal the players are offering comes cloaked in the spirit of compromise but has some very sharp teeth.
Gary Bettman will cry “wolf,” and he will be right.
-Michael Grange of Sportsnet where you can read more about yesterday’s NHLPA offer.
3/ Aggregate revenues over next 4 yrs— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 15, 2012
#NHL‘s aggregate revenues about $15.66B. Owners’ proposed to share 43.3% of that with players.
Read more of Grange’s recent tweets to get the bigger picture…
The NHL may inform the NHLPA today about the offer the PA made yesterday.
I am sure most of you have digested the offer so what do you think, how will the NHL react to the offer.
Will they use it as a starting point, will they turn it down or will they say nothing?
Your thoughts and I am sure there are more options for the NHL, but I tried to generalize and pick the best three scenarios.
Bettman says “we need time to evaluate” players’ proposal. They meet again tomorrow morning after league studies it.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
Don Fehr: we do believe proposal players made today can produce stable industry. Players indicated they take lower share revenue next 3 yrs.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
Fehr says proposal should “lead to a new CBA.”— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 14, 2012
Fehr says revenue-sharing could reach $250 million per year.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 14, 2012
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
According to sources with the PA, instead of trying get the league’s proposed wage rollback of 24 per cent down to 12 per cent or get free agency from 10 years to seven, where it stands currently—instead of negotiating against themselves, in other words—the PA has a grander vision in mind.
The expectation is that Fehr, having played it coy even as the expiration of the current CBA on Sept. 15 comes ever closer, will instead present the owners with his own vision of how the industry should be shaped.
“Some people interpret a counter proposal to be ‘this is within the framework of what the other guy said’—It just moves some things around,” Fehr said after a two-hour bargaining session in Toronto Monday. “This is a different kind of an approach. It’s how the players see the world.”
Details weren’t available, but the broad strokes are clear:
The NHL’s hard salary cap, a concession earned by locking out the players for a season in 2004-05?
added 6:33pm, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
from Don Breenan of Off The Posts at the Ottawa Sun,
Don’t you just want the nonsense to end and for them to reach an agreement?
Do you feel sorry for the owners who have made a habit of handing out ridiculous contracts?
Do you empathize with the players, who won the last standoff and are now being asked to take a step back so the game has a better chance of survival?
And if that’s just the way the owners are painting the picture, I don’t care. They’re the bosses. They take the risks. There’s no canvas or brush unless they pay for them. At the end of the day, if they wanted to shut it all down, they could always hire replacement players. The product might suck, but they could do it.
The NHLPA needs somebody to pay the freight, right?
Even saying that, I’ve said too much. I got sucked into the quagmire. I’ve stated an opinion, when this morning, it’s not what I wanted to do. All I know is that the Olympics are finally and thankfully over and I want to start looking forward to NHL training camps.
A Globe and Mail editorial,
National Hockey League teams, particularly in this country, enjoy a rather enviable arrangement with their fans. No matter how much they raise prices – for tickets, for merchandise, for concessions – supporters keep showing up, in some cases regardless of whether the teams win very often.
And yet those teams and their players continue to have a difficult time living up to their end of the bargain – which is simply playing the games they are scheduled to play. It was less than eight years ago that the NHL missed an entire season because of a labour dispute. With commissioner Gary Bettman threatening yet another lockout if there is no new collective agreement with the players’ association by Sept. 15, it now appears headed toward its third lengthy work stoppage in the past two decades.
With fewer teams facing financial difficulties than previously, the latest trouble appears to be caused less by urgent flaws in the NHL’s business model than by a dispute over how to divvy up the spoils of fans’ loyalty. Players now receive a 57-per-cent share of (consistently rising) revenues; team owners think it should be well below half.
Neither side seems to feel a great imperative to reach a compromise. The league and the union appear to have been emboldened by the response to the last lockout; if fans returned in droves then, they surely would again.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The current agreement succeeded in levelling the playing field and brought some semblance of parity. But the financial gulf between the big-market and small-market teams widened. This was mainly because NHL teams shared less than 6% of revenue. By contrast, NFL clubs share more than 60%.
In the last seven years, the NHL has increased its revenues by more than $3.2 billion.
“We know what they didn’t do, they didn’t share it between the big- and small-market teams,” said a league insider Saturday. “A big percentage went into the pockets of the big-market teams who are now refusing increased revenue sharing as a means to address the disparity.
“This is not a players’ issue anymore. This is a battle between the owners and it’s time for them to settle it once and for all between themselves.”
Well, what’s next?
Yesterday evening in Canada, the CBA news made the National News on CBC. I doubt we would ever see any national news station in the States dedicate almost four minutes to everyting NHL.
Even though it is yesterday’s news, Elliotte Friedman of CBC/HNIC makes an appearance with his views on the negotiations.
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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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