Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/14/12 at 11:59 PM ET
Updated 3x at 11:50 PM: The NHLPA’s counter-proposal to the owners’ draconian “Let’s just roll it back 10-20 years” CBA all but ignored the NHL’s suggestions in lieu of attempting to build an economic bridge to a more stable NHL based on increased revenue sharing and a temporary reduction in the players’ share of wages.
It doesn’t remove the hard cap in any way, shape, or form, but addresses the league’s economic concerns in a fundamentally different way—changing the way things work for three seasons, before offering a reversion to the CBA’s current guise in year 4—as noted by Sportsnet’s Michael Grange…
TSN’s Aaron Ward…
In NHLPA proposal,the artificial slowing of salary growth by players will go as follows: year 1 will increase by 2%,year 2 by 4% and— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) August 14, 2012
Important to remember average revenue growth is 7.1% so this is a three year payroll reduction of $465M to help teams in need.— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) August 14, 2012
And as the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts notes, in a very big surprise, there’s no luxury tax involved:
Just to clarify debate over whether or not NHL players’ proposal includes luxury tax - it does not. Fehr said hard salary cap remains.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
NHL players proposal only offers “couple small exceptions” to cap. They “very limited” and wouldn’t affect the players’ share of revenue.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
How does this affect the players’ share of wages? As Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien noted, the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti explains that this half-billion-dollar giveback basically says, “Okay, owners, if you want to make it 1987 again, let’s make it 2006 all over again—but league-wide revenues went from something like $1.8 billion to $3.3 billion, and for the next three years, we’re going to let you pocket the extra $ to get your economic s*** together”:
Told NHLPA’s proposal would cut players’ share of HRR from 57% to 54%. After 3 seasons, players would have option for 4th year back at 57%.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) August 14, 2012
Players’ share of HRR was 54% at start of expiring CBA. Grew to 57% with record growth of league revenue.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) August 14, 2012
And as the AP notes, the give-back could balloon considerably should revenues continue on their current path:
Fehr said players are set to surrender as much as $465 million in revenue under the proposal if the league continues to grow at an average rate. He says that number could balloon to $800 million if the league grows at the same rate it has over the last two seasons.
“We do believe that the proposal the players made today, once implemented, can produce a stable industry ... that can give us a chance to move beyond the recurring labor strife that has plagued the NHL the last two decades,” Fehr said.
Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Jason Spezza were among 23 players that participated in the meeting Tuesday in Toronto.
An NHL proposal last month called for a significant decrease for players in revenue share by introducing new contract restrictions, including a five-year cap on deals. The NHLPA has proposed a three-year deal for a CBA with an option for a fourth, Fehr said.
The proposal would have the players accepting a lower percentage of the revenues over the first three years. The fourth year would see the CBA revert to its current terms. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday he has received the union’s proposal and hopes to continue talks Wednesday.
“Our hope is we can take care of business in the next month,” Bettman said. “That’s our goal.”
Bettman said the owners would carefully consider the latest proposal.
“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two, and as a result we’re going to need to take a little bit of time to evaluate it, understand it,” Bettman said. “If we’re going to respond, we want to respond appropriately.”
If I were to put this bluntly—and as an NHLPA supporter, I will—this is a response to 10-year free agency, entry-level contract restrictions and the abolishment of salary arbitration by offering a bailout. This offer may only be the real “start” of negotiations, but it is also the NHLPA telling the NHL that if its economic system is in trouble due to player costs, the players will take it on the chin for three years in exchange for retaining their mobility.
The CP’s Chris Johnston notes that the lack of a luxury tax was indeed a big surprise…
The most surprising part of the union’s proposal was that it didn’t call for the removal of the hard salary cap the league won coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. Fehr indicated that the union decided to work with that concept because the owners felt strongly about the need to keep it.
The union boss called the proposed revenue sharing plan “significantly expanded, more aggressive and more targeted” than what currently exists. It would see more than $250 million spread around each season.
“In essence, when you boil it all down, what were suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups,” said Fehr.
The proposal comes after the league laid its offer out on July 13. It called for an immediate 24 per cent decrease in player salaries—accomplished by lowering the union’s share of revenue—while introducing new contract restrictions, including a five-year cap on contracts. According to the NHLPA, its proposal doesn’t include “significant” changes to rules governing players contracts.
With the Sept. 15 deadline looming, it appears the talks have started to take on more urgency. Both sides have said repeatedly that they’re anxious to avoid a lockout, especially after an entire season was lost the last time they negotiated an agreement. Since then, the union has installed Fehr as its executive director and the players seemed thrilled with the crafty first proposal he unveiled Tuesday.
“Everything that we’ve done has been well thought out,” said Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza. “There’s a reason behind our proposal. The biggest reason is because we want to try to find a way to play and find a way to reach a fair agreement.”
Added Fehr: “The players want a new CBA and they want it soon.”
One could also argue that the players’ proposal is designed to shove stakes between small and big-market owners, as big market teams hate the current revenue-sharing plan and don’t want to spend another penny bailing out their weaker sisters…
But that’s kind of the point. The NHL’s initial proposal “bailed out” the owners by placing all the economic concessions on the players’ paychecks, and the NHLPA’s proposal offers a more moderate version thereof with a genuinely meaningful revenue-sharing system added to the picture.
In an equal level of surprise, the NHLPA chose not to make their proposal public—in 2004, everything the PA did was instantly tossed out to anyone who wanted to read their missives in PDF form, so the fact that the PA is not repeating the task in a world of Twitter, Facebook and people interested in the business of hockey who specialize in sports law tells you how different Donald Fehr is from Bob Goodenow in terms of his professionalism.
Did Fehr get his jabs in? Of course he did, as noted by the Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta...
“Today, the players made a proposal on the core economic issues, which we believe will lead to a new CBA,” said NHLPA head Don Fehr. “The players did not believe that the owners’ initial proposal (made on July 13) was likely to do that. We do believe that the proposal the players made today, once implemented, can produce a stable industry, one that, going forward, can give us a chance to move beyond the recurring labor strife that has plagued the NHL for the last two decades. Players want a new CBA, and they want it soon. But, obviously, it has to be one which is fair and equitable for the players, as well as to the owners.”
But he also jabbed that stake through the collective heart of ownership’s party line very deftly…
“Under our alternative proposal, essentially the players have indicated that they will take a reduced share of HRR, going forward, for the next three seasons,” Fehr said. “That would be based on a reduction from what would be produced otherwise under the current formula with the league growing at traditional rates that it has for the last seven years. We also propose significantly expanded, more aggressive, and more targeted revenue sharing. The purpose of this is to help clubs and ownerships groups which may need it. Under our proposal, revenue-sharing could reach, and probably would reach, more than $250 million, per year.
“In essence, when you boil it all down, what we’re suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to help stabilize the industry and assist the less financially-strong ownership groups.”
And while there aren’t necessarily restrictions on player mobility…
“We have proposed that there be no changes in any significant way to the player contracting rules,” Fehr indicated. “We have a couple of things that we’re going to get back to them on that we’re still working on, but essentially, the current system would not be modified.”
The 23 players in attendance made it very clear that they had indeed been consulted on an en masse basis regarding what their representatives were about to propose…
“Obviously, we put a lot of time into this proposal and we think we can really improve the business side of things—not only now to help both sides, but also going forward when these kinds of threats of lockouts or strikes or any kind of serious labor disputes (are put to an end),” said New York Islanders center John Tavares, one of the players in attendance today. “We want to grow the game, and grow it in a way where we can work together, and find a solution to the long-term.”
Added Ottawa Senators veteran defenseman Chris Phillips, “I think was a positive day for us to counter and give our proposal and our ideas on how to make it a viable system for all clubs to succeed.”
“You don’t really know them on a personal level, so you don’t know how they react to certain things,” said Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner. “They didn’t really say too much on what their thoughts were on it. Obviously, they want to gather the information and make sure they have a firm grasp on what it is that we’re proposing before they come back to us with anything.”
Kill ‘em with kindness? Something like that:
“Regardless of how you view the industry, as a whole, it may be that there are some individual franchises that need some attention,” Fehr said. “The owners have certainly indicated to us that they believe that is true. So, what we wanted to do was try, as you should in bargaining, and address the concerns that are given to you, if you believe that you can do so.”
Again, this is more of a “bridge to stability” than a long-term proposal, as the Toronto Star’s Mark Zwolinski notes…
“We believe that the proposal the players made today, once implemented, can produce a stable industry . . . that can give us a chance to move beyond the recurring labour strife that has plagued the NHL the last two decades,” said union head Donald Fehr, who was surrounded by some of the game’s top players, including Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Jason Spezza and the Leafs’ James Reimer.
“I like it a lot,” Crosby said of the proposal. “It’s addressing issues. As players, we want to accomplish what we hope to, but at the end of the day it takes both sides to do it.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15 and the NHL has said there will be a lockout if a new agreement isn’t in place by then.
The union said some 200 players — roughly one-third of the membership — had reviewed the proposal. The players’ offer is for a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year, Fehr said. The proposal would see the players accept a lower percentage of revenues over the first three years while in the fourth year the CBA would revert to its current terms.
The league, according to the players, could realize as much as $465 million in savings over that three-year period if the league continues to grow at an average rate. That number could rise to as much as $800 million if the league grows at the same rate it has over the last two seasons, Fehr said. In addition, a plan for “more aggressive” revenue sharing among the league’s 30 teams could bring in an additional $250 million a year, the players say.
The hard salary cap, which has a ceiling of $70 million, will remain in place, although the players have allotted for minor tweaks over the next three years.
“When you boil it all down, what we’re suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups,” Fehr said.
As the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts suggests, how the NHL responds on Wednesday may or may not tell the tale:
“I’m not going to tell you what I think the proposal means,” said [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman, who was carefully polite in his remarks after the meeting at the NHLPA offices in Toronto. “Our hope is we can take care of business in the next month. That is our goal.”
Bettman said he and his negotiating team planned to study the proposal Tuesday and return to the union offices Wednesday morning with a preliminary response. If the league needs more time to study the proposal, Bettman said Wednesday’s meeting could be delayed, but only by hours rather than days.
There was a palpable sense of optimism among those on the players’ side of the table that the proposal was creative enough that Bettman and the owners would consider it seriously rather than dismiss it outright. The importance of the offer was such that among the 23 players who were present when it was presented to the NHL owners were some of the league’s biggest stars – Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and John Tavares.
“I like it a lot,” Crosby said of the proposal. “I think like Don [Fehr] says, it addresses the issues that the league has with [some] teams and making sure as players we do our part to help those teams out but also holding teams accountable to doing that, too. At end of the day it’s going to take both to do that and that’s what our proposal shows.”
That increased revenue sharing from the league’s wealthiest clubs – potentially as much as $250-million a year – was a major part of the proposal was not a surprise. The surprise was that the players did not suggest a luxury tax on clubs who want to spend beyond payroll limits. The proposal retains the hard salary cap that was brought in after the 2004-05 lockout with what Fehr called “a couple small exceptions” that would not change the players’ share of hockey-related revenue (HRR). The proposal also calls for player contracts to maintain the current form as it relates to free agency, term limits and salary arbitration.
The players proposed breaking the link in the current collective agreement, which expires Sept. 15, between HRR and player salaries. Rather than tying club payrolls directly to revenue, in which they rise at the same rate as revenue, the players offered to cap their salary increases if league revenue continues to rise at same rate it has since the lockout, which is an average of 7 per cent. If the revenue rises more than 10 per cent in a year, the amount above that would be subject to the revenue split in the current agreement, which gives the players 57 per cent of HRR.
In the first year of the agreement, the players’ salaries will rise 2 per cent, in the second year the increase is 4 per cent and it goes to 6 per cent in the third year. The proposal also calls for a players’ option for a fourth year in which the system reverts to the present agreement and its 57-per-cent player share of HRR.
In exchange, the players are asking the wealthy clubs, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and others, to share more of their revenue, something those clubs have adamantly opposed. Under the current agreement, the most one of the wealthy clubs had to contribute last season in revenue sharing was $14-million.
While I was writing this, however, things got a little more interesting. Lyle “Spector” Richardson pointed out a pair of eyebrow-raising Tweets from Sportsnet’s John Shannon which signal the beginning of a night full of leaks:
Part of PA Proposal includes ability to “trade” cap space. Same amount of money/cap remains in system yet can be redistributed or “bought”— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) August 15, 2012
Have been told it’s a minor part of PA Proposal and has very limited use, specifically for teams in distress.Doubt the League will agree.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) August 15, 2012
Was Bettman’s smarm factor in effect? You’d better effin’ believe it, as noted by USA Today’s Kevin Allen:
“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said of the proposal.. “As a result, we’re going to need a little time to evaluate it, understand it and we told them that we’d go back to our offices and do that and that we would be prepared to meet again (Wednesday).”
“I’m not going to characterize (the proposal),” Bettman said. “I’m not going to tell you what it means because we need time to evaluate it and make sure we fully understand it.”
The NHLPA proposal is a response to a league proposal that called for player givebacks, plus some changes in revenue sharing. Owners want to reduce players’ share of revenue from 57% to 46% (the NHLPA says the figure is 43%), plus they would eliminate salary arbitration, limit contract lengths to five years and keep players longer in entry-level deals and restricted free agency.
Fehr said the NHLPA plan includes no change to the contract rules, meaning no term limits. He said more than one-third of the NHLPA membership discussed the proposal with union leaders before it was placed on the table.
“There were a number of people who wonder if the way to solve any problems would be to eliminate the salary cap and let each club pay based its own resources and control budgets with enhanced revenue sharing,” he said. “But owners are not interested in that approach and our desire is to try to make an agreement. So we made the proposal we did.”
Fehr said negotiations have been somewhere between “frank and businesslike” and “cordial.”
“It’s certainly professional,” he said. “And it’s certainly people who know what they are doing. We obviously represent different constituencies and we don’t see the world the same way.”
Fehr said the NHLPA is making “our number crunchers” available to “league number crunchers” to make sure there was no misunderstanding of the numbers.
As a Wings fan, I feel a little uncomfortable doing this, but I’m going to give the last word here to someone I hope is healthy enough to play and annoy us by being a superstar, via the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby:
The star power on display Tuesday was something we have not as much in past labour battles between the NHL and NHLPA. But there was Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Jason Spezza, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Cammalleri and P.K.Subban sprinkled in among the 23-player group that surrounded NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr on Tuesday.
Fehr speculated that the NHLPA’s proposal could save the league $465 million in three years if the league continues to experience the same growth it has in recent seasons. As part of the plan, the players have devised a revenue sharing plan that could expand the money available to $250 million for troubled teams.
“Don says it addresses the issues that the league has with teams and making sure as players we do our part to help those teams out but also holding teams accountable to doing that,” Crosby said. “At end of the day it’s going to take both to do that and that’s what our proposal shows.”
Will the owners, however, feel the same way about this plan? If this is something that at least kickstarts negotiations in a positive direction, maybe the lockout won’t be as long as it appears at this point in the summer. We have a month to go before the current collective agreement expires on Sept. 15 and eight weeks before 2012-13 NHL season is set to open on Oct. 11.
“I think it’s a little too early for that,” Crosby said, when asked about the possibility of a third lockout in less than two decades. “It’s a first proposal and this is a little bit of a new direction. We’ll see as time goes on. As soon as you hear that word and hear Gary talk about it, you think more about it. Like I said it’s still kind of early to get caught up in it.”
That’s true, very true. This is the beginning of meaningful negotiations, and tomorrow, we’ll find out whether the NHL has any interest in playing the game, or whether they’re simply going to stamp their feet and say, “Lockout unless we get exactly what we want!”
The NHL posted a video of Bettman, Fehr and Crosby speaking to the media…
Sportsnet posted a remarkably long, 9:28 clip of commissioner/executive director/player commentary, as well as analysis thereof…
The CBC posted clips of Fehr’s 11-minute presser…
The Chairman’s shorter media availability…
Tim Wharnsby’s take on the proposal…
An a take on the numbers game:
TSN’s clips are regrettably not embeddable (I wonder if they know how ridiculous their online traffic would be if they also made their videos embeddable…to quote people under 30, it would be “sick”), but they posted Fehr‘s 11:13 presser, a 1:51 clip of Bettman’s response, a 3:51 clip of player comments, a 3:37 report from Sara Orlesky and a 2:55 clip of Aaron Ward’s take on the response.
If you missed some videos from the initial post, here’s Bettman…
And Fehr from the NHLPA’s website:
Update: The Sporting News’s Jesse Spector weighs in as follows...
The financial playing field, just from a revenue-dividing standpoint, will never be level between the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators—even if the small-market team from Tennessee did get enough money together to match the Pennsylvania titans’ $110 million offer sheet to defenseman Shea Weber this summer.
The key to competitive balance is comprehensive revenue sharing, and that is what the NHLPA proposed on Tuesday.
The union’s proposal does include a lowering of the players’ share of hockey-related revenue, at a total Fehr said would approach $800 million if the NHL continues its stellar growth of the past “couple of years, which have both been fairly strong years.” That should be music to the owners’ ears. The rest of the proposal is where Fehr’s genius kicks in.
“Under our proposal, revenue sharing could reach, and probably would reach, more than a quarter of a billion dollars per year,” Fehr said. “In essence, when you boil it all down, what we’re suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to help stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups.”
Fehr said that the salary cap would still be a “hard cap,” but with “more flexibility in putting teams together.” The implication is that rich teams would be better able to flex their financial muscle, and in doing so, would help their struggling brethren through the revenue-sharing package.
For those who would argue that such a system would only open the door to domination by hockey’s biggest markets, take a look at the last five Stanley Cup champions: Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. The teams with the best regular-season records in 2011-12 were New York and Vancouver. It’s not as if the hard cap is doing much to hurt the rich clubs on the ice. On the other hand, in the five years before the cap came into hockey, the champions were New Jersey, Colorado, Detroit, New Jersey again, and Tampa Bay—teams who beat Dallas, New Jersey, Carolina, Anaheim, and Calgary in the Finals.
Fehr didn’t suggest scrapping the cap because he knew the owners would never go for it, just as he wasn’t about to go for the owners’ idea of the players simply giving back money. By changing the framework of the conversation, Fehr and the NHLPA showed that they are thinking not only about how to maximize their take-home dollars from this deal, but how they can put hockey on a path to a healthy future, building from existing strengths to take the game into a new era.
SI’s Stu Hackel tends to write nearly lyrically because he’s inspired by song, and he did just that in his Red Light blog take on what happened today…
Fehr added the union’s proposal won’t be “magic,” but it will be different from what the league has offered the players. “Some people interpret a counterproposal to be ‘All right, this is within the framework of what the other guys said; it just moves some things around.’ This is really a bit of a different kind of approach. It’s how the players see the world.”
How do they see it? Not as the owners do, with their salaries lowered, their free agency years delayed, their salary arbitration gone, the length of their contracts limited to five years, their signing bonuses eliminated and other takebacks the league has proposed. They will almost certainly put forth this “alternative” view in which the owners’ problem — that some teams are struggling financially despite the league’s record $3.3 billion revenues — is addressed by having the NHL clubs share that revenue more equitably.
“But,” as David Shoalts writes in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail, “this does not mean any serious bargaining on a new agreement to replace the one that expires Sept. 15 is under way. It just means each side has finally stated its philosophy about a solution.”
One can only hope the players’ optimism won’t be in vain.
As Sportsline’s Brian Stubits points out, one can never separate propaganda from the equation, and in delivering the proposal that the players did, they certainly positioned themselves to be the martyrs if the NHL does not accept the “bridge to economic prosperity”—and given Fehr’s supposed status as a labor villain, he’s flipped the script regarding public perception of his persona as well:
The players didn’t come to the table on Tuesday with swords hoisted in the air ready to stubbornly fight the owners worse than mules. No, they came with an initial offer that seems incredibly reasonable—especially for a starting point—and once again actually makes the players seem like the good guys. Really, Fehr talked to the media after the meeting on Tuesday and explained that the players were offering to take a cut in the hockey-related revenue. Be still my beating heart, did I read that correctly? The players under Fehr would actually walk away from some money? Why, I was all ready to call them greedy, too.
Moreover it is a three-year plan, another olive branch being extended almost to say “Here, try it out and if you don’t like it, we’ll talk again in three years.” That seems more than fair, does it not? The short term might have its drawbacks, but it doesn’t require a massive commitment from the owners. The players are asking for a few dates, not their hand in marriage.
But where the first offer really takes the cake is that Fehr managed to somewhat subtly force the owners to begin the in-fighting. It’s crystal clear that the owners have to get serious about some revenue sharing system that’s meaningful. It’s the only way that some of the struggling teams will be able to make some sizable gains on their bottom lines, not by taking a little from the players.
It’s as if Fehr threw a juicy piece of meat into the center of a pack of wolves. Now he can watch them fight over it and make each other look bad in some form. Greed? It’s only going to go one way with this proposal. If anybody will look greedy it won’t be the players.
The move was a stellar push from the onset, actually. Instead of validating the NHL’s initial offer and letting it take the leverage, Fehr pretty much started from scratch, not viewing it as a counter-proposal but instead a whole different take. It meant the players weren’t fighting back or attacking but instead leaving the owners to do that.
[F]ehr makes it abundantly obvious that the owners’ first offer wasn’t intended to reach an agreement, but this one from the players is. They want to reach a deal, they are the victims here not the big, bad owners. At this point the only people who are fearing Fehr are likely the richest of the rich owners and Bettman himself.
And the Globe and Mail provides a link to a CTV video of the proceedings…As of Tuesday morning, not afternoon.
Update #2: While the Score’s Jstin Bourne insists that you have every right to “not give a *#$%@&” about CBA negotiations…
NHL.com’s Dan Rosen posted a later-breaking update regarding today’s events:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said after the session that the League’s negotiating committee told the Union time would be needed to analyze the proposal before responding. The two sides plan to meet again Wednesday.
“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two, and, as a result, we’re going to need a little bit of time to evaluate it, to understand it,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We told them that we would go back to our offices to do that and we would be prepared to meet again [Wednesday] morning, which is what we’re going to do.”
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires Sept. 15. Commissioner Bettman said this past week the League’s owners are not prepared to operate under the terms of the current CBA for the 2012-13 season.
The owners delivered their initial proposal during a negotiating session July 13. The Union, which spent the past month analyzing the League’s proposal, presented its first proposal on economic issues Tuesday.
Commissioner Bettman said he was not prepared to characterize the Union’s proposal because the League’s negotiating committee still had not had the opportunity to fully digest the presentation.
“Our hope is to spend whatever time it takes this afternoon and this evening to review the proposal because if we’re going to respond we want to respond appropriately,” Commissioner Bettman said. “Obviously, if we can’t finish our analysis and evaluation today we may need more time tomorrow, but our hope is to be in a position tomorrow to get back together.”
Commissioner Bettman also said that he and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly thanked the 23 players who attended the meeting Tuesday for their input into the process.
Update #3: The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan has filed his report...
On Tuesday, the NHLPA, a month after the NHL made an initial proposal, tabled what executive director Donald Fehr has called an “alternative view.”
Finally, true negotiations can begin as the sides teeter toward another work stoppage that would hold nothing positive in the eye of the public. Whether a lockout can be avoided remains to be seen. In their offer, the players made it clear they are willing to take a financial hit, geared toward a greater revenue-sharing system that would help the NHL’s bottom feeders.
The players could give up $465 million or as much as $800 million, depending on league growth in the next three seasons, with the desire that the owners share that money, as much as $250 million, among the teams that are struggling financially. Players in the next three seasons could see only a 2% growth in salary in the first year, a 4% growth in the second year, and a 6% growth in the third year. In the fourth year, they would have the option of reverting to the CBA as it stands now.
There’s no doubting the support Fehr has from the league’s young stars. To his right as he spoke was Sidney Crosby. To his left, Alex Ovechkin. Steven Stamkos stood close, as did Jason Spezza and P.K. Subban, who were among the 23 players in attendance.
“The biggest reason is we want to find a way to play and find a way to reach a fair agreement,” Spezza said when he was asked whether he would be concerned about giving back money. We feel this is a way the player can help with some of the more profitable teams.”
Since a lockout killed the 2004-05 season, revenues have grown to $3.3 billion last season from $2.2 billion in 2006.
Bettman refused to comment on the players’ document, saying he and his staff required more time to digest it. The sides are expected to meet again on Wednesday. However, the NHL commissioner did throw a bone.
“It’s clear to me they did not put it together in an hour or two,” Bettman said. “As a result, we’re going to need a little bit of time to evaluate and understand it. I’m not going to tell you what I think the proposal means. Our hope is that we can take care of business in the next month. That’s our goal.”
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is reporting that teams can trade cap space under the PA proposal…
And the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman has added the following via Twitter:
Just a couple of quick notes on NHLPA proposal, re: revenue sharing. Haven’t seen these out there, but sorry if this is old.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 15, 2012
Proposal eliminates current restrictions on teams like NYI and ANA (market size). Also eliminates reduced payment for teams that do not…— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 15, 2012
grow their own revenues at the league average. (That really hurt CLB, for example.) There are also no changes to what is currently…— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 15, 2012
considered Hockey Related Revenue. Couple sources say the new model is similar to, but not exactly, MLB’s structure. Once money is placed…— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 15, 2012
in pool, both NHL and NHLPA would distribute to teams based on need. Anyway, hope this is fresh. Vacation time. Take care, everyone.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 15, 2012
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