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A Deal Is Still Close

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

And yes, I still do think a deal will be reached sooner rather than later and there will be a season. Let’s get that out of the way first. ... 

Whether or not the emotion gets in the way of a deal, well, that I can’t predict. But purely from a framework basis, this deal is nearly there. 

They have essentially agreed on revenue sharing among teams, the players’ pension issues and the "make-whole" provision. 

That leaves three key issues unresolved: 

1. CBA Term. The league wants a 10-year deal (with a mutual option after eight years); the union responded with eight years with an option after Year 6. To me this is a red herring. It’s not a deal breaker. Frankly, I think most players don’t really care about this one.... 

2. Contract term limits. The league proposes five-year limits (7 years if it’s your own player) while the players countered with eight years. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said this was a hill they were willing to die on, that’s how important the owners feel about getting five-year limit on contracts....

3. No compliance buyouts or caps on escrow in transition. Don Fehr brought up this up this week, a desire to either limit escrow early on in the new CBA and allow teams to buy out players but not have that payment count against the salary cap.... 

more on each point...

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Paul From Cali's avatar

Sorry but I cannot share Pierre’s optimism anymore.  If Bettman was telling the truth yesterday, that “everything from this week is now off the table”, then they’re basically back to square one and it won’t get settled till next year, if then.

Until yesterday I was 100% convinced there would be some sort of season.  The NHL wouldn’t be stupid enough to throw away another full year.  Now I’m the one who feels stupid.

Posted by Paul From Cali on 12/07/12 at 05:11 PM ET

Colossal Cap Hit's avatar

Everything is off the table in the sense that it’s not a negotiating point. It underlines that the offer was a set of interdependent parts rather than a set of tweakable parts.

Posted by Colossal Cap Hit on 12/07/12 at 07:27 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 12/07/12 at 07:38 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

pure fool. That’s why his mamma named him Pierre

Posted by MoreShoot on 12/07/12 at 07:51 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Sorry but I cannot share Pierre’s optimism anymore.  If Bettman was telling the truth yesterday, that “everything from this week is now off the table”, then they’re basically back to square one and it won’t get settled till next year, if then.
Until yesterday I was 100% convinced there would be some sort of season.  The NHL wouldn’t be stupid enough to throw away another full year.  Now I’m the one who feels stupid.
Posted by Paul From Cali on 12/07/12 at 05:11 PM ET

It’s bad faith tactics like that that will aid Fehr in galvanizing the Players to remain strong. Bettman has done this every single time. And he has crushed the union every single time. His method of negotiating is essentially a series of “take it or leave it” offers that do not permit counter offers and diminish in value over time. The Players realized this and that is why they hired Don Fehr and restructured the NHLPA. The Players hired Fehr to save them from themselves. For the sake of the long term future of the NHL, I hope the Players remain strong and grind the owners into the ground. Then, next time the CBA expires, the Owners won’t pull this wait to the last minute, negotiation by threats BS.

Some of the NHL positions defy explanation. Take this 5yr contract limit that Daly said NHL was willing to die on. As long as you have a salary cap that gives the Owners cost certainty (and is guarranteed by the Players escrow account), why the hell should the NHL care about the length of a player contract? Or how about the NHL’s resistance to the make whole provision. Those Owners signed those contracts, why the hell shouldn’t they honor them. Some of you work under employment contracts or sell your services under contract. How would you react if your boss or one of your clients came to you in the middle of the contract and said I’m not paying you that much? You would hire someone like me or OKie to sue their ass.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 12/07/12 at 08:14 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

we cant possibly have a 10 yr agreement. Why you say? Because we’ve been spoiled by having lockouts every 6-7 years. Dont go changin’ it now rolleyes

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 12/07/12 at 08:33 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’m so with you on all of this Captain. Just about every single element of every single offer by the league has been promptly “taken off the table” upon rejection, only to then be even higher on the next proposal meaning it’s a bluff plain and simple. Fehr’s job is to minimize player losses in this drama. He doesn’t seem to feel this last offer is the best he will ultimately get and based on the leagues’ response, I actually agree with him. I predict whenever a deal is ultimately signed it will be similar to the league’s offer the other night, but with a few slight movements towards the players.

I do wonder regarding the contract term limits, does this HAVE to be a CBA issue? Could they have no limits in the CBA, but then simply make binding agreements amongst themselves in BOG meeting that nobody will sign a player for more than x amount of years? They are the ones who offered these contracts after all. It seems their problems are much more with each other than with the players. Also, is Craig Leopold the only owner who knew existing contracts would be essentially scratched? How would New Jersey not have banked on that fact to try and keep Parise by just offering him whatever? That whole free agent race was such a sham in hindsight. I so wish I could see how these owners argue amongst themselves. Some of these guys must just utterly hate each other.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/07/12 at 08:38 PM ET


I would really love to know how the owners feel about Bettmans negotiating tactics this time around.  The standard operating procedure is Bettman gives a little bit with the understanding that this is all we can do, our best offer and if its not accepted outright its off the table.

Fehr takes what Bettman gives but asks for more.  Bettman kicks into baby pout mode Crys and says everything is off the table.  Wastes 1 or 2 weeks and then negotiates a little more and repeat the process over.

Plain and simple the league got its 50 - 50 split and if there is some form of variance control on how much contracts can vary year to year what more do they need.  The owners obviously have no interest in playing the season. They’ve already won this negotiation.

Posted by tbassett on 12/07/12 at 09:17 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

tbassett Ask Alex Trebek if you can buy a clue for a Hundred!

the 4 “Moderates” Tannenbaum, Vinnik, the Jets owner name is escaping me at the moment & Burkle walked out

Posted by Evilpens on 12/07/12 at 09:31 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Who is Mark Chipman?

I’ll take “pre-planned negotiating strategies” for $180 million, please.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/07/12 at 09:34 PM ET


Alex Trebek: “This poster on KuklasKorner does his best for attention by trying to insult the intelligence of every poster while making himself look like an insecure jack-off who obviously has little to know hockey intelligence”

Every KuklasKorner Member: “Evilpens”


Posted by tbassett on 12/08/12 at 06:59 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Posted by tbassett on 12/08/12 at 06:59 AM ET

little to know hockey intelligence” LOL

good answer to the FACT that the 4 “Moderate Owners” walked out on the meeting not Bettman

Posted by Evilpens on 12/08/12 at 09:28 AM ET


So Evilpens you think it impossible that perhaps Bettman and the owners had something like this in mind to try and discredit Fehr and start planting doubt in the union like in 2004?  The owners surely knew that Fehr woul have to get involved at some point in the process. 

If they planned on working out a deal to get the season going Donald Fehr the head of the Players Association would have to sign off on it. 

However I plan on writing to all 30 owners and let them know that Evilpens from KuklasKorner should be the next commissioner of the NHL.  You come across someone as knowledgable like him once in a lifetime.

Posted by tbassett on 12/08/12 at 12:11 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Reminder - the block feature works. Don’t feed the trolls.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/08/12 at 12:31 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) The planting of doubt is being done by the Fehr’s themselves & crackheads Like Upshall, Miller& Richards

Posted by Evilpens on 12/08/12 at 01:48 PM ET

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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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