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How Did Today’s CBA Meeting Go?

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.”

more

added 6:06pm, Watch a video below with both Bettman and Fehr speaking after today’s talks….

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

Comments

BrendonR's avatar

76,000 pages?? And its apparently just the first bit.

Posted by BrendonR on 07/31/12 at 06:36 PM ET

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Unless they agree to play under the current CBA for another year, I see a lockout coming.

Posted by T on 07/31/12 at 07:23 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Hahaha Bettman’s starting to lose patience.  Hahahahaha

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/31/12 at 07:40 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Tough s***, Gary…

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 07/31/12 at 07:56 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Hahaha Bettman’s starting to lose patience.  Hahahahaha

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/31/12 at 06:40 PM ET

I giggled like a Japanese schoolgirl.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 07/31/12 at 08:13 PM ET

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“Why won’t they just take our worst offer?” - A little bit of cheese with that whine Gary?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/31/12 at 08:58 PM ET

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It’s a lot harder to negotiate a deal when you haven’t bought off the opposing side, eh Betts?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/31/12 at 09:19 PM ET

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Where is the players counter offer? They have had months to come up with a proposal. Labor law requires you to bargain in good faith, that includes providing a counter proposal. If the players want a lockout then continue to delay and the owners will shut it down. It is the players choice.

Posted by timbits on 07/31/12 at 10:35 PM ET

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Where is the players counter offer? They have had months to come up with a proposal. Labor law requires you to bargain in good faith, that includes providing a counter proposal. If the players want a lockout then continue to delay and the owners will shut it down. It is the players choice.

Your definition of ‘months’ needs a bit of polish, considering the NHL submitted their proposal in July… and it’ll still be July for another couple hours.

That aside, you do actually realize that pretty much none of this is the players choice, right?  Their best shot is to make an offer appealing enough to the NHL that they can peel off 15-20 votes, but beyond that (or accepting the worst possible offer just to play) they aren’t exactly flush with what I would consider options.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/31/12 at 11:10 PM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/31/12 at 10:10 PM ET

The NHL offered to start negotiations at the end of last year and earlier this year.  The players weren’t ready. They have known the outlines of what the NHL was likely to ask for sometime. If they have an offer to peel off 15 to 20 owners they should make that offer. I don’t believe they have any intention of negotiating anything substantive. They want to run out the clock and call the owners bluff on a lock out. I think they will get what they want.

Posted by timbits on 07/31/12 at 11:37 PM ET

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Billionaire owners good. Millionaire players bad.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 08/01/12 at 02:37 AM ET

Alan's avatar

They have known the outlines of what the NHL was likely to ask for sometime.

They have known what the NHL was asking for roughly one month now. You nor I are in no position to discuss what the players “likely” knew.

The NHL’s proposal is batshiat crazy, and if the owners want to risk throwing another season down the drain, they’re more than welcome to throw the locks on the doors. Go ahead and chase off all the casual fans who’ve come back to the sport in the past five years.

Lil’ Gary was brought in to the NHL about 20 years ago in part to help stabilize relations between the owners and the players. He’s currently facing the prospects of his third lockout in that period of time. Some stability.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 08/01/12 at 07:36 AM ET

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1) So are we to believe that the NHLPA is stalling to force the NHL to decide to lock them out?  Is that the best you have Mr. Fehr?  If it is, then I can already tell you what will happen(its already started)....
2) The NHL(Bettman) will increasingly state they have given oodles of info to the players to make a counter proposal and they are patiently waiting, and once the players counter proposal is submitted it wil be rejected out of hand
3) The owners will propose a bit of superficial revenue sharing but NEVER to the degree the players are asking for. The owners will get their % down into the upper 40’s and wait it out until the players fracture
4) Folks who believe that the owners can be divided are fooling themselves!  Easier to keep 29 billionares in line than 700 unemployed hockey players united

Posted by Fauxrumors on 08/01/12 at 08:14 AM ET

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The NHL offered to start negotiations at the end of last year and earlier this year.  The players weren’t ready. They have known the outlines of what the NHL was likely to ask for sometime.

Applying your own logic, the NHL could have submitted their proposal at any time prior to the first week of July as well.  Further, negotiations of this type always start late because time is the only real motivator for either side.

Also, the idea that the NHLPA knew generally what the NHL was going to offer so they should have had a counter offer in the tube ready to launch is pretty, well, stupid.  There’s absolutely no way the NHLPA can know enough about what the NHL was going to suggest to be able to have a good starting point, just like the NHL doesn’t really have much of a clue what the NHLPA is going to come back with.

I don’t believe they have any intention of negotiating anything substantive. They want to run out the clock and call the owners bluff on a lock out. I think they will get what they want.

As always, believe what you want.  However, responsibility is not incumbent solely with the players for any failure to agree.  For instance, would you blame the players for a work stoppage if they refused to take the NHL’s opening offer and the NHL refused to take theirs?

At the end of the day there has to be a workable, fair deal on the table in order to make an agreement unless the NHL is again going to attempt to grind the NHLPA’s face into the dirt and re-break the union.

Which would then be the NHL’s ‘fault’ were that tactic to result in a work stoppage.

Folks who believe that the owners can be divided are fooling themselves!  Easier to keep 29 billionares in line than 700 unemployed hockey players united

It is easier to divide players.  It is not impossible to divide owners.  Note the difference.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/01/12 at 08:53 AM ET

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1) @HockeyinHD: If recent history is to be our guide then there has been NO public fracturing of the owners once the CBA negotiations/lockouts have started.  There are probably internal squabbles but they always speak in one voice(Bettman’s) and NEVER fracture/give in.
2) On the other hand we have oodles of times the players have publicly argued and been at eachother’s throats and under cut their lead negotiator by going behind his back.  This I predict will happen once again. Fehr will resign when he sees the writing on the wall

Posted by Fauxrumors on 08/01/12 at 09:08 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

2) On the other hand we have oodles of times the players have publicly argued and been at eachother’s throats and under cut their lead negotiator by going behind his back.  This I predict will happen once again. Fehr will resign when he sees the writing on the wall

Posted by Fauxrumors on 08/01/12 at 08:08 AM ET

First of all, just because something happened in the past does not mean it will happen in the future. This is a fallacious argument.

Second of all, the players had public arguments in large part because they had no union leadership and organization the last time around. This time, they have an experienced, well respected leader.

There’s no doubt it is harder to keep 700 people together than it is to keep 29 of them together. But it doesn’t mean it is impossible or even unlikely. The MLBPA is much larger and Fehr did a pretty good job keeping that one together, eh?

The hopeful solution is that the owners aren’t out for blood and when the PA does put forth a proposal, the league actually plays ball and works toward a compromise.

Where is the players counter offer? They have had months to come up with a proposal. Labor law requires you to bargain in good faith, that includes providing a counter proposal. If the players want a lockout then continue to delay and the owners will shut it down. It is the players choice.

Posted by timbits on 07/31/12 at 09:35 PM ET

The owners hold all of the cards. The players need to play, it is their livelihood and what they are trained to do. The owners are more wealthy than the players, and in most cases, their hockey clubs are toys, not necessary revenue streams. There is no such thing as the players forcing the owners to lock them out—the owners choose that course of action. Unless the PA is crazy enough to ask for a larger share of the pie than they take now, there is no way you can put the responsibility for a lockout on the players. If they stick to the status quo (or “better” from an ownership perspective), then the owners are the ones demanding more, and using a lockout as the tool to get it.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/01/12 at 10:19 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

There is no such thing as the players forcing the owners to lock them out—the owners choose that course of action. Unless the PA is crazy enough to ask for a larger share of the pie than they take now, there is no way you can put the responsibility for a lockout on the players. If they stick to the status quo (or “better” from an ownership perspective), then the owners are the ones demanding more, and using a lockout as the tool to get it.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/01/12 at 09:19 AM ET

Bingo. If we get into late September and October without hockey, that will not be the players. The players’ proposal is to continue playing hockey and they would gladly do that under the current CBA if it came to that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/01/12 at 10:45 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

76,000 pages huh? How much of that is relevant? Or is the league just trying to blow smoke up the PA’s ass and make them filter it themselves trying to paint the players as the problem for delaying the process?

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 08/01/12 at 10:55 AM ET

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If recent history is to be our guide then there has been NO public fracturing of the owners once the CBA negotiations/lockouts have started. 

Of course not, because said public fracturing would cost the fracturing owner fines.  The issue is who votes which way… and let me let you in on a little secret.  Check for the word ‘unanimously’ in any story about the NHL’s last CBA being ratified by owners.  I’ve never found it.

On the other hand, I see it when it happens, like when MLB had it’s last deal extended.

So no, you won’t see many NHL owners taking the public lumber to Bettman.  You’ll just see them vote against him.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/01/12 at 11:04 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Timbits - The NHLPA is hardly at fault for not providing a counter-offer to date.  It would be borderline professional misconduct to do so based on intuition and what they sensed prior to actually receiving the recent NHL offer.  Accounting arguments - and of course the NHLPA isn’t actually going to look through 76,000 pages line by line - are completely relevant and necessary to the NHLPA’s counter-proposal and public comments.

FauxRumors - Clearly you feel that things are ridiculously one-sided here.  You’ve posted the same thing a number of times.  That’s fine, we all know and agree that the owners can hold out longer than the players if push comes to shove, but collective bargaining isn’t nearly as simple as you confidently project it to be.  As rational actors here, the owners for the most part can’t be expected to go with that sort of full scorched earth policy.  Fan dissatisfaction and anger towards owners are elements that the NHLPA can certainly attempt to generate as this drags on, and decreased revenue projections due to falling attendance and TV viewership are both things that owners want to avoid in this current economy.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 08/01/12 at 12:51 PM ET

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The players’ proposal is to continue playing hockey and they would gladly do that under the current CBA if it came to that.

Which is the point at which the players would have the ability to strike.juts wait until the playoffs started. So although what you are saying is true, I doubt the owner’s are willing to pay salaries for the season and then lose their profits by losing the playoffs. This is a negotiating ploy by the union as well and not out of philanthropy.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/01/12 at 04:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

This is a negotiating ploy by the union as well and not out of philanthropy.

Oh yeah, I wouldn’t say that it’s not a ploy, but it’s a good ploy.  If the league locks out, it will be their choice. There just seems to be a bit of confusion about what exactly happens if we get to the scheduled start of the season and there’s not a CBA in place.  Some people seem to think that they simply cannot play hockey, that the lockout is essentially “automatic.”

While a lockout would be practically automatic, it would still take an act of the owners to make it happen

The NHL can play without a CBA, just expect that it would be a big mess where both sides beat on each other in both the court of public opinion and in actual courts.

Hell, if the owners wanted to be jerks, they could let the season start without a CBA and then just Rachel Phelps the players, as things like travel arrangements, hotel accommodations, medical treatment, supplemental discipline, and the like are all collectively bargained.  If the players and owners don’t come to the table, the owners could choose to try to run the league in such a way that would force a players’ strike instead of a lockout.

The problem is that making things so bad that the players have to strike is likely going to get you seriously mistreated in the press. There are also plenty of tiny little legal issues that they kind of don’t want to fight over if they can help it

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/01/12 at 05:34 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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