Some websites, like, say, this one, have been overtly positive about the NHL’s latest proposal, and the possibility of it advancing the two sides towards a new CBA proposal.

Unfortunately, our boy Donald Fehr, the head of the NHLPA, would like to remind fans that the latest proposal only looks decent when compared to the NHL’s initial bullshit offer.

Fehr sent a letter to all players and player representatives after reviewing it, and included some of the following tidbits (and more – check out Bob McKenzie’s blog for complete details).

From McKenzie’s blog, a summary:

- “Simply put, the owners’ new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights. As you will see, at the 5 per cent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds $1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?”

On specifics:

- “They want to “clarify” HRR definition and rules. It is not immediately clear what this means, but so far all of their ideas in this regard have had the effect of reducing HRR, and thereby lowering salaries.”

This is a big one, a just another hurdle the two sides could easily stumble on.

- “The Players’ Share is reduced to 50 per cent from 57 per cent immediately — this season. This is a reduction in the share of 12.3 per cent. On last year’s revenue numbers, this would mean that players’ salaries would be cut by about $231 million.”

Overall:

- “We do not yet know whether this proposal is a serious attempt to negotiate an agreement, or just another step down the road. The next several days will be, in large part, an effort to discover the answer to that question.”

Welp, that was overall depressing.

In reality, the point is so, so solid: The players were getting 57% of revenues. Most owners were making bank, as was the league. Then the league wants concessions. Wwwwait, what?

But we all knew which way the players were going to have to move in these negotiations, and they knew too. If they can get the owners to 52 or 53%, I bet they’d pull the trigger. It’s not like the latest NHL offer was rainbows and butterflies, but nobody wants to forfeit the season. It’ll be interesting to see if the PA remains hard line on its demands (they do seem prepared to miss the season), or is willing to meet the owners somewhere closer to 50.

Comments (7)

  1. “In reality, the point is so, so solid: The players were getting 57% of revenues. Most owners were making bank, as was the league. Then the league wants concessions. Wwwwait, what?”

    You nailed it in the next paragraph, but the issue is that, judging by the standards of the other leagues, the NHL is far too generous in their salary share given to players.

    Right now, the NHLPA is basically Ford’s workers after Chrysler and GM have already negotiated their contracts. They don’t have a lot of say as to what “market” is. Frankly, if I was a member of the NHLPA, I’d be calling anyone I know in the NFLPA or NBAPA and asking them why the hell they rolled over and took 50 / 50 splits (… well, we know why, namely that the players in those leagues are generally less prepared for lockouts than MLB or the NHL, which is how Stern keeps winning labour negotiations). Because as much as the PA will try to characterise this as a rollback of salaries, the owners get to point at the other two capped leagues and argue that 50 / 50 is what things are going towards.

    (And any accounting arguments by the NHLPA are easily overridden by the NHL saying that they’re perfectly willing to adopt the NFL’s structure in its entirety… complete with non-guaranteed contracts. Bet that’d shut them up pretty quickly).

    • I don’t think the accounting arguments are really overridden. In fact, they would come up pretty quickly if the NHLPA wrote back their offer on the same terms (basically) but removed all of the deductions from HRR.

  2. I rescind my slow clap from the last article! Buzz kill…

  3. “They want to “clarify” HRR definition and rules. It is not immediately clear what this means, but so far all of their ideas in this regard have had the effect of reducing HRR, and thereby lowering salaries.”

    The devil is always in the details. This to me is still “humoungous beeg”and the biggest elephant in the room.

  4. I find it funny when people try to compare NHL to NBA or MLB or NFL. Nobody in Canada cares about anything other than hockey.

    You cant call all the sports cars, that makes them sound the same. The other leagues are bicycles, skateboards, and scooters. No point comparing any of them to cars.

    Look at the KHL and SEL if you wanna compare salaries among professional hockey leagues. Comparing hockey to basketball is both lazy and silly.

  5. I’m a snowbird down here in Tampa, If the owners are loosing so much money why is the owner here in Tampa (who saved this franchise) living up to his deal of giving $50,000.00 per home game to charity, is he just a good corporate citizen or crazy?? We need more owners like him.

  6. From watching and hearing about Bettman I peg him as a VERY prepared guy. I am willing to bet that this latest offer is #3 in a list of about 10 that he had pre-prepared to use as the situation was appropriate. I’ll also bet that when the PR nightmare of the focus groups came out he rushed plan #3 out a little early to try and turn the tide.

    Plan #3 along with the planned public release was designed to start turning the fans opinion more to the owner’s side as he realises that fan pressure ultimately will help sway some players toward settling. I will also bet that plan #4 or #5 is a regress plan that say “you’re not taking our offers and some things that we so generously offered are now coming off the table”.

    We have to face facts Bettman intends to “win” and he is going to grind and grind until the PA folds. He already has the fans/media talking about 50/50 as “fair” – why is that fair? It is all propaganda combined with smoke and mirrors. There will be no hockey (unless the PA folds – which they are less likely to do this time) until Sept 2013. Just accept it.

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