Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/23/12 at 10:14 PM ET
Thus far, Donald Fehr has been particularly restrained regarding making any sort of smart remark regarding CBA negotiations, but he delivered a helluva one-liner to the Associated Press regarding tomorrow, Wednesday and, uh, Friday’s scheduled meetings with the NHL in Toronto:
The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are set for another round of negotiations this week with the hope of establishing a new collective bargaining agreement before the current one expires on Sept. 15.
Executive Director Donald Fehr says owners “have pointed us in a direction of some very tough hills to climb,” with three days of talks set to begin Tuesday in Toronto. Fehr says the NHLPA is not yet prepared to make a counteroffer to the owners’ initial proposal.
Fehr says the players will make their offer, “when we’re ready.”
Fehr was also remarkably candid while discussing the NHLPA’s lack of a counter-proposal to the NHL’s opener in a discussion with the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts:
“When and if we come to the conclusion we want to suggest a new way of doing things, whether it’s on [the salary cap] area, changing the system, scrapping it or [introducing] increased revenue sharing. we won’t have any problem in making that suggestion just as they did the last time,” Fehr said Monday at the NHLPA’s annual charity golf tournament.
Fehr was also skeptical about the owners’ assurance the salary-cap system, which has limited revenue sharing among the NHL’s 30 teams, was here to stay. He said their assertions have “the suggestion of a poll-tested phrase, a focus-group-tested phrase.”
This week’s meetings will be more about gathering information for the union rather than negotiating. Fehr and other union officials said they requested more information from the league in the wake of its first proposal to the players, which called for a 22-per-cent rollback in the players’ share of league revenue, five-year limits on contracts and an increase in eligibility for unrestricted free agency from seven to 10 years among other clawbacks.
The NHLPA and NHL will meet Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in Toronto with further meetings scheduled for next week. At this point, Fehr can not predict when a counter-proposal will come from the players.
“We’ve asked for a bunch of additional financial information; they’ve indicated the preparation [to deliver it] is under way,” Fehr said. “We’ll have to review that before we come to any final conclusions.”
When the union is ready to submit its proposal, it is expected to suggest much more revenue-sharing among the teams, something most of the wealthier teams resist.
Which is the reason you can expect the words “luxury tax” to be uttered, too.
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