New Year's Solution Coming...Plus What the Owners Have Given NHLPA
To use a hockey term, we’ve entered the third period in CBA talks. One way or another there soon will be a resolution to what’s best described as one of the most embarrassing events in the history of sports.
Yes I fully expect a deal to be completed sometime around January 10th with a 48 game season beginning around January 20th. Who didn’t see a deadline deal happening? It became obvious several weeks ago neither side would agree to a deal as long as there was time left on the clock. All you have to do is follow the steps of the recent NFL and NBA labor disputes to understand how this would eventually play out.
Believe it or not a deal is certainly within reach. The fact that neither side has been able to push this across the line is what makes this so inexplicable. Both sides look foolish now but they aren’t dumb enough to cancel the entire season.
I had a good talk Wednesday afternoon with former goaltender and current CBC analyst Glenn Healy. He was a known player’s supporter last time around in 2004 which led to him taking a job with the NHLPA. This time his feelings have changed.
“Philosophically I was opposed to the salary cap but it worked out pretty well for the players. This time it shouldn’t be this difficult, what are they dragging their feet for?”
The players have already given up $1 billion and with each passing day they lose an additional $10 million. That’s $10 million they’ll never get back.
Not to mention the additional $300-$400 million in revenue they’ll lose next year. You would think the concern now would be with growing the pie and not labor issues. Are the labor issues so critical that’s it’s worth losing $10 million a day? The reality is you’ll need a ten-year CBA just to repair the damage and make nice with the fans and sponsors, many who have already turned their backs.
Both sides have a decision to make, either cause more damage or grow the pie.
The five-year max on contract length the owners are resting their hats on has never made much sense. Fans should know this remains the biggest issue holding up an agreement. Considering they already have their variance I don’t get why the five-year length is so crucial. Then again would Union Executive Don Fehr agree to a deal if the owners extended it by a year or two?
If I was a player I wouldn’t have a huge issue with signing a five-year deal. I get the security aspect but how much security do you need? If Alex Pietrangelo signs a five-year extension that kicks in next year, he’ll be in line for another one at 27 years old. How many players will truly be affected by this?
40% of NHL players don’t even have a contract for next year. Trust me, at a 50/50 split players will still make millions of dollars. At the end of the day players always get paid.
What’s Plan B for NHLPA?
What is the player’s option if they don’t except the final offer from the owners, to decertify? We know that could take several months if not years to get a decision from the courts. The average NHL career is just over 4 years, are you really willing to kill 25% of your career over the issues on the table? I ask the same question to the owners. Is the league prepared to gas the season on five-year contract term?
What Have Owners Given?
I’ve had countless players ask this question. And for the most part they’re right. Players have given more than the owners have. But at this point it’s probably best for players to move on away from the previous CBA. The terms of the last CBA don’t necessarily apply this go around. Yes you gave in on a 50/50 split but we knew this would happen a year ago. Once we saw NFL players, a league 9 times bigger than the NHL, accept less than 50% and the NBA agree to a 50/50 split we all knew that was the direction the NHL was heading in.
Believe it or not the owners have given in on some things. On the surface it may not appear big but there have been concessions made.
Revenue sharing…yes more teams qualify but still teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs will be spending more in revenue sharing to help teams in need.
Discipline….An independent arbitrator will now hear Gary Bettman’s discipline.
Recallable Waivers Gone…Teams no longer will be forced to pick up half a players remaining salary which lead to players like Wade Redden being buried in the minors.
Imaginary Bonus Money for Entry level Players…Under the old system once an entry level player took his first shift his A and B level bonuses counted towards the cap. Even if the player had no chance of reaching these bonuses it gave the team an automatic inflated cap number. This created an easier path for teams like the New York Islanders to get to the salary floor. Now NHL clubs will have to spend straight cash and you can be assured not every club is very happy with this. This means more money available in the system to spend on players.
Second Opinion….Under the new agreement teams will now pay for second opinions on injuries.
There are other obvious ones like keeping a $70 salary ceiling in the first year of the new CBA. This pretty much had to be the case considering the CBA expired in September.
Labor Side/Business Side….
I understand there is a union side but there’s also a business side and both owners and players have the responsibility to grow the game. Several months ago NHL marketing guru John Collins mapped out a plan that he believed would grow the pie to $4 million. How long will it now take just to get back to $3.3? Considering we’ve seen $1 billion go down the drain there is no best deal coming.
My sources tell me a new CBA needs to be ratified right around January 10th with games being players around the 20th. This allows time to get players over from Europe, sign players if necessary, and have somewhat of a training camp.
Some secondary issues such as the Olympics and World Cup can be negotiated even after a deal has been ratified. You’re going to need at least five more days of negotiating between now and then.
The damage has been done and it’s time to stop ignoring and cannibalizing the fans. Enough is enough.
I don’t blame players for trusting Donald Fehr, he’s the guy they hired to do the job and it makes sense to allow him to do his work. Still fans should know there are a number of players who want to get a deal done and play hockey. Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Mathieu Darche, Jamal Mayers, Andy McDonald, Martin St. Louis, and Shane Doan are just a few who are working hard to make sure fans get hockey back this season. This doesn’t mean they’re revolting against their own union but they are working to do what’s best for the sport not just themselves.
The NHL views Fehr as an 11th hour negotiator and there’s a good chance we don’t see a deal get done until then. The players don’t believe the owners will kill the season based on the issues on the table and Fehr has convinced them to take this to the limit before calling their bluff. At the end of the day somebody will blink and at this point the fans could care less which side does it first. No matter how this plays out both sides have already lost.
I know it may be difficult but just follow the script.
Anyone else think Canadian goaltender Malcom Subban lacked confidence even in their 9-3 victory over German?
When will Blues fans first see Ty Rattie camping out by the left post in the NHL? He is expected to be in camp whenever that happens.
Did USA sniper Alex Galchenyuk look like Dany Heatley rolling off the wall before placing one just under the bar to give USA a 2-0 lead over Germany? Maybe it’s the number 15.
Are there any other NBA players looking to sign their kid up for youth hockey? I’d take Seth Jones on my club.
How about Scott Nichol telling me TJ oshie is the best NHL player he’s ever played with. Pretty nice praise considering he’s played with Heatley, Marleau, Thornton, Iginla, Kariya, Forsberg, Hartnell just to name a few.
Word is several players were very unhappy the disclaimer of interest vote total was leaked to TSN before the players were notified. Who leaked it? I have a guess but I’ll save it for another day.
Players have until January 2nd to dissolve as a union.
Here’s to hoping NHL teams don’t throw out some phony marketing campaign apologizing to fans once the lockout ends. Just drop the puck.
More to come,
The Latest Truth
Post about tonight's Isles-Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Berglund Says He's Full of Confidence
Post about tonight's Blues-Kings game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Blues Look to Rebound in LA
Post about this afternoon's Blues-Sharks game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Blues-Avs game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Wild/Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more