Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN New York,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association split into small group meetings during Day 2 of labor talks Wednesday to discuss players’ pensions and benefits, as well as health and safety issues, although a counterproposal from the NHLPA does not appear imminent because of the information requests to the league that are pending.
Although “non-core economic issues” dominated Wednesday’s bargaining session at league offices in midtown Manhattan, the major point of contention moving forward will be the financial issues that surfaced in the league’s first formal proposal submitted July 13.
The Players’ Association still has not received all the financial documentation—primarily the independently audited information for the league’s clubs—requested from the NHL and has no intent to submit a proposal until that information is received and then analyzed.
“The information that we’re getting now is independently audited statements,” said former player Mathieu Schneider, who is special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. “What we got was the first drop—I think it was 76,000 pages. They’re asking for huge concessions ... $450 million from players. We certainly feel the audited statements are very important to what will eventually be our alternate proposal.”
added 7:15pm, Mathieu Schneider talks with the media after the meeting today, watch the video below…
from Jesse Spector of The Sporting News,
“We had a discussion (Tuesday) about how the players react to the proposals that would modify the terms under which players negotiate individual contracts,” Fehr said. “Things like 10-year unrestricted free agency, elimination of salary arbitration, limitation of contract length and so on. We talked about that for a while, and it will come as no surprise that the players are not enamored with those kinds of limitations.”
At this point, all the players have is dissatisfaction with the league’s initial proposal, with the only basis for comparison being the current system—one that clearly has worked for a union that is willing to continue to play under it, but not for a management side that does seem to be getting somewhat agitated by the fact as the calendar flips to August, with the CBA’s expiration set for Sept. 15, there is no ETA for the NHLPA’s CBA. It is a bitter alphabet soup.
“For the last seven years, they’ve been getting financial information on a regular basis, subject to verification through the agreed-upon procedures under the collective bargaining agreement,” Bettman said. “In addition, we made a substantial financial data dump five months ago, and they had, I think, auditors go in to do some procedures with at least half of the clubs over the last year. So, the union has, for quite some time, had substantial financial information. They have given us, recently, some additional financial information and other information requests, most of which we don’t understand the relevance to, but which we have been producing. Last night, we gave them the first installment, which was 76,000 pages of information, pursuant to their request.”
added 6:06pm, Watch a video below with both Bettman and Fehr speaking after today’s talks….
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL starts by setting what it calls Targeted Team Player Compensation each season. This is a number that is between the midpoint of the salary cap and the floor. It is a result of a complicated equation involving each team’s regular season and preseason revenue.
Next, the league calculates what each team should have available to pay player salaries. The available amount is subtracted from the target amount and qualifying teams are paid the difference.
But there are also exclusions and clawbacks. Any team in a market of more than 2.5-million households, such as the New York Islanders, cannot receive revenue-sharing funds. Teams who miss attendance and sales targets can see their shares clipped by up to 50 per cent.
When the players make their counterproposal, it is expected to follow the baseball model. This calls for a greater share of the rich teams` local revenue to go into the pot. This is not expected to thrill the owners.
Both a current NHL governor and a former NHL governor admitted the league`s richest teams are not keen even about the limited sharing the exists now. The former governor said the owners would only accept sharp increase like the NBA owners did if Fehr and the union can convince them every team will become profitable.
from the CP at TSN,
A day after tabling the remaining elements of its opening contract offer, it was the NHL’s turn to listen.
The NHL Players’ Association made a number of presentations to owners Thursday, including ones addressing pensions, training camp and ice conditions.
Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, says the two sides were involved in collective discussion and also broke into smaller groups.
“Today was another good day,” said the former NHL defenceman. “I think we had a lot of good, open discussion and it was certainly one of the days where we had a lot of player involvement and to me that’s the most important thing.”
continued and the next meeting is scheduled for Monday in NYC…
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Globe and Mail,
The NHL Players’ Association is almost ready to table its own vision for a new collective bargaining agreement.
As negotiations with the NHL resumed Tuesday, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr indicated that the union was getting close to responding to the league’s initial proposal, which included a decreased share of hockey-related revenue, term limits on contracts and a 22 per cent salary rollback.
“I doubt that it will be weeks plural,” said Fehr. “But could it be two? Yeah. It could be two, it could be less.”
The sides have entered gently into talks. This week’s three-day session in Toronto marks the fifth consecutive week Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman have sat across the table from one another, but they still seem to be feeling their way into the process.
Player agent Allan Walsh expresses his views regarding the CBA…
NHL owners/Gary Bettman have a salary cap obsession. Their solution is to always take from the players by revenue grab each CBA cycle.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 21, 2012
What NHL owners/Bettman don’t get is salary cap just a band aid. Players took hard cap, 24% rollback last time. Now, NHL wants 22% rollback.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 21, 2012
What will the NHL want next time? The solution is revenue sharing/luxury tax system to ensure financial health of all franchises.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 21, 2012
The following essay was submitted to cbc.ca Saturday morning. Its author — who wishes to remain anonymous — is a 10-year pro who has played in the NHL, the AHL and overseas. These are his thoughts on the current labour situation:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” — Charles Dickens
Hockey has never been better.
The skill and speed with which today’s game is played is unparalleled. Both the on-ice and off-ice product have soared to new heights, and players and ownership are making more money than they ever have collectively.
But here we are, once again staring right into the teeth of another ugly labour dispute. After the 2004 lockout, the fans came back and forgave the unthinkable skipped season. This time, we shouldn’t be so presumptuous.
The NHL’s initial offer includes a decrease in HRR from its current 57 per cent – 43 per cent in favour of players, down to 54 per cent – 46 per cent in favour of the owners. Coupled with a 22 per cent rollback in player salaries, their shot across the bow leads me to think this doesn’t look good.
We certainly can’t be foolish enough to think that this initial offer will be accepted, but really, what can players do? If owners want to stand pat, eventually players would be forced to cave, or take their chances with another league. (Not going to happen. Ever.) We are hockey players, and that’s all we really want to do.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Seven years after the league was able to impose a 24-percent rollback on existing contracts as one of the terms of the settlement of the lockout that claimed the 2004-05 season, that is just how much the athletes would have sacrificed if the system proposed by the NHL to go into effect next year had been in effect in 2011-12.
That is the calculation drawn by the players’ association following three days of fact-finding meetings with the league on Sixth Avenue that concluded yesterday, according to a memo from executive director Don Fehr that was obtained by The Post.
Fehr wrote: “We learned that the owners’ proposal, if in effect in 2011-12, would have had the following effects:
“(1) Player compensation would have been reduced by $450 million, or 24 percent ... Using the definitions in effect under the current CBA, the ‘46%’ player share in the proposal is really only ‘43% and change.’
“(2) The salary cap would have fall to an Upper limit of $50.8M, a Midpoint of $46.8M, and a floor of only $38.8M.”
The NHL operated last year with an actual cap of $64.3 million and a floor of $48.8 million. If the current CBA were in place next year, the cap would be $70.2 million and the floor, $54.2 million.
from Katie Strang of ESPN New York,
Day three of labor talks between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association yielded little news. The two sides met for approximately 2.5 hours Friday to discuss “technical matters,” before wrapping up for the weekend.
According to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, the players’ association is still in the process of gathering information, both with regards to the NHL’s proposal submitted last week and beyond. The NHLPA has not yet submitted a counter-proposal or a proposal of its own, and appears unready to do so at this time.
“When we get to the point where we’re going to formally respond to the proposal they made—by description, by counter-proposal, or by separate proposal of our own—everybody will know,” Fehr said. “We’re not there yet.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN New York,
“We met for two hours, give or take, and spent most of the day discussing the owners’ proposal mostly as it related to how their proposals could change player contracts and would have meaningful effects,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said outside the league offices in midtown Manhattan. “And it’s fair to say that discussion focused in no small part on what would happen to players if the scenario of their proposal was adopted.”
Fehr also confirmed that recent contracts that would be prohibited in such a proposal. For example, the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that restricted free agent Shea Weber signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night came up in the discussion.
“I will tell you this: that was a subject that did come up briefly today, not at length,” Fehr said. “I’ve always viewed that as long as there’s no collusion or anything involved, that, taking into account the system, the contract speaks for itself, in terms of what people should be doing.
“You’ll have to ask them why they want to modify the system to prevent that kind of choice. I’ll let them speak for themselves.”
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