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Start Playing Then Negotiate

from Jesse Spector of The Sporting News,

Get back on the ice, start collecting ticket revenue again, start selling merchandise again, and put the game front and center instead of posturing, browbeating, and greed. It’s not only the best way to set about repairing the NHL’s image, which believe it or not still has not hit rock bottom, it is the best way to make a deal.

Every observer agrees that the best chance to make progress on a collective bargaining agreement is to take negotiations out of the public eye. What better way to do that than to bring back hockey and move the CBA backstage?

The obvious question about how to start a new season is how to make the financial system work, but the NHL already has a mechanism to handle this: the escrow system of the last CBA. It’s pretty simple, really. Pay all players according to their current contracts, which already are tied to the NHLPA’s share of hockey-related revenue, and put everything into escrow above the 50 percent threshold of HRR that is the NHL’s baseline in negotiations. Once a new deal is negotiated, pay the players what they are owed, including “make-whole” shares, out of that escrow pool.


Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

The argument is that if they play while negotiating, it puts the NHL in a corner when the players strike when the playoffs start - just like they did in ‘92.
That’s the reason why Bettman and the BOG refuse to play games while negotiations take place.
And the NHLPA would do it too. Because they don’t get paid for playoff games, there’s nothing stopping them from striking at the most important time of the year.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/19/12 at 02:38 PM ET

TheFreak's avatar

Sounds like LAX airport employees getting ready to walkout during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Common denominator? Unions.

Posted by TheFreak on 11/19/12 at 05:47 PM ET


Playing while negotiating doesn’t necessarily mean playing without a CBA. 

There could have been an extension of the previous CBA with No strike/No lockout provisions. 

There could also be an agreement on some terms now, with the rest going back to the previous cba for whats left of a season, while both sides continue to negotiate.

The agreement could have provisions where they players would forfeit all escrow payments if they strike during the agreement, and Owners would sacrifice a percentage of HRR if they locked out payers.

Posted by jwad on 11/19/12 at 05:53 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Some nice points iwad.
But both sides have so far thrown out hundreds of millions at this point, so both sides would probably have no problem losing money (escrow or % of HRR) by striking or locking out prior to the playoffs.

Posted by Hank1974 on 11/19/12 at 09:10 PM ET


The current CBA has a no strike provision so that could have been in force if they extended the CBA. Why this plan will never work is because it was an option from the start and the owners went nuclear. There is no point going backwards and admitting you made a very costly mistake when all that revenue is already lost.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/20/12 at 10:56 AM 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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