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The Puck Stops Here

Three Years For The Olympics

The NHL is negotiating their next CBA through the media.  In order for a three year extension to the CBA which is set to expire at the end of the 2021/22 season, they would be willing to let their players play in the 2018 Olympics.  Players have been "allowed" to go to the Olympics since 1998 and have not had to give up bargaining rights to get this chance.  The Olympics are a great chance for hockey to get exposure and are the best hockey we have seen in the last couple of decades.

The NHL owners have been a pain to the International Olympic Committee.  They are the only people who get paid to allow competition in the Olympics.  They have used the threat of withdrawing from the Olympics to extort this money.  Recently the International Ice Hockey Federation has suggested that they might be willing to pay the bill instead of the IOC.  Seeing their leverage shrinking they have tried to extort the players.

Should the NHL refuse to stop its schedule for the Olympics, it will lead to problems.  Alex Ovechkin has said he is going to the Olympics whether or not the NHL allows it and I am sure he is not the only player who feels that way.  The NHL would continue its schedule without many star players and without much interest from fans who are off watching the Olympics instead.  The NHL would lose out if they tried to play through the Olympics and yet they demand concessions for not doing it.

Now from the player's point of view, this is clear unfair.  It is also probably the best deal they will get.  Without a CBA extension, the NHL will lock out the players in 2022.  We will lose at least half the season.  The players will be forced to accept even worse CBA terms than they have now.  That is what history shows us.  The players have short careers and many cannot afford to lose a season to a lockout.  Thus the players will fold when pushed.  The owners have a longer timeline in mind and hence have been able to lockout the players to get further concessions from the players.

Right now the players are unhappy about escrow.  About 15% of player salaries never get paid.  They go into an escrow account and eventually go back to the owners in order to get a 50-50 split in "defined revenue" where the owners get 100% of revenue that is not defined as such.  In the NBA, escrow is capped at 10%.  Players see that as something they would like. 

The problem is when push comes to shove the owners will be stronger in collective bargaining.  They have shown the ability to lock out players repeatedly and gain concessions and have fans return without punishing them.  They can and will do that again.  If players can put that off for three years, it would be better than losing half a season to lockout to be forced to accept an even worse CBA than they currently have.  That will come, but it will come three years later with this arrangement.  From the player position it is a bad deal.  The problem is the other alternative is an even worse deal that they have to accept after a lengthy lockout.   The owners have a system where they get richer and can rig the system further to get even richer than that when the rules come up for re-negotiation.

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Hard to feel sorry for millionaire hockey players. Sure they would like to get more like expansion revenue but on the other hand if a team loses millions and some of them do the players still expect to be paid as it is not their problem. You can’t have it both ways.  If they extend the agreement they still get 50% of revenue just not as much as their contract calls for if the league makes less money. If the league has more revenue - which has happened the players get more than they are signed for. Seems to me the players should take the deal because striking or forcing a lock out will not get them more than the 50% they are getting now.

Posted by Alton on 11/18/16 at 12:55 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Your position is feeling sorry for billionaire owners because you can’t find sympathy for millionaire players.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/18/16 at 08:17 AM ET


The NHL would continue its schedule without many star players and without much interest from fans who are off watching the Olympics instead.

What are you talking about!! I would gladly watch my NHL team over some team that’s only playing for two weeks at them most. Most NHL teams only lose 2 or 3 players off of the lineup, some teams don’t lose any!! I say that if it comes down to watching the Olympics or the NHL, the NHL will win that battle.

Posted by izerman on 11/18/16 at 08:29 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com