(NBC Sports)–Following Tuesday’s meeting with the NHL, players’ union boss Donald Fehr met with reporters to discuss specifics of the NHLPA’s offer to the league — and passed along a key message.
“We want to make a deal.”
Fehr covered various aspects of Tuesday’s meeting, discussing both the tone of the meetings and the details of the PA’s proposal.
The nuts and bolts of the NHLPA offer are:
– Proposed three-year collective bargaining agreement, with an option for a fourth.
– The fourth year is an option to revert to the current CBA.
– Players are willing to take a lower HHR (hockey related revenue) share over the next three years.
– Current rules for player salaries, contract lengths and free agent eligibility would remain unchanged.
– Deal would include a hard salary cap “with some exceptions.”
– One exception appears to be a luxury tax.
As for the tone of and reaction to the meeting, Fehr said the talks were “frank” and “certainly professional,” but added that players and owners “don’t see the world the same way.”
All summer I have been living in a state of denial. I kept telling myself that the hockey season would start on time and the NHL would avoid a second work stoppage within ten years. When the NHLPA shot down realignment that seemingly benefitted everyone so they could use it as a bargaining chip, I shrugged it off. I totally ignored Gary Bettman saying that the owners would not play another season under the current CBA while negotiations were ongoing. Just blocked it all out and told myself I would have something to write about besides Notre Dame football in this space. I’d have more content opportunities and less suicide suggestions. Win-win.
For the first time in my life, living in denial has paid off. This offer from the NHLPA is a great first step. It shows that they are willing to negotiate in good faith and are actively trying to reach an agreement. For the first time all summer, hockey fans have reason to believe the owners and the NHLPA will reach an agreement before the September 15th expiration date.
I assume everyone can read(even you guys in the comment section) so I won’t break down every bullet from the article above, but I do want to point out that Donald Fehr and the NHLPA are clearly trying to divide and conquer the NHL owners with this offer. Increased revenue sharing, salary rollbacks, and a luxury tax will pit the small market clubs against the more wealthy franchises. I think that’s a smart move. The downtrodden NHLPA millionaires are aligning themselves with the downtrodden NHL billionaire owners. This basically puts the Rangers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Bruins, Canucks, Maple Leafs and Flyers against the rest of the league. I can’t imagine those teams agreeing to pay the proposed $250 million in revenue sharing each year, but I also can’t see them winning a battle against the other 22 owners.
Obviously there is still a long way to go, but finally hockey fans have some encouraging news on the labor front. The offer was reportedly well received by Gary Bettman as opposed to flat refused. I bet this gets dragged out for the next month or so, but the league has never been stronger so there isn’t a need for a prolonged work stoppage. Opening night is less than two months away. I am ready to starting talking real hockey.
PS: A few things I’d like to see come out of the new CBA
- increased revenue sharing
- luxury tax
- an amnesty clause (peace out Frolik)
- “Larry Bird rule” so future Blackhawks dynasty teams don’t have to be completely dismantled.
- relocation of Phoenix to Seattle
- expand to 32 teams (Quebec City, 2nd Toronto franchise)
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