Almost immediately after I wrote my morning post explaining that the owners offer to the players was not just about PR, the NHL released their offer to the NHLPA on their website. As Elliotte Friedman said…

Indeed. For the record, I stand by that morning post. I think the owners are entitled to try to cash in PR-wise on the fact that they are trying to get a deal done.

Still, I don’t necessarily think “PR” is the reason they did it. Another wise hockey soul made a great point about why the NHL may have released the proposal on its website, despite claiming that they don’t negotiate in public:

That makes sense to me.

I’ve made this point a number of times before: hockey players are hockey players, and they have it ingrained in the fabric of their being that the most important thing is doing what’s best for the team. You’d never see a player step out and say “Fuck it, I’m cool with 49% of hockey related revenues because I don’t want to miss a year of paychecks.” Whether they think that or not, they play it cool and do what’s best for the team.

However, there are times in a hockey season, say, where a scout is at a game and a certain player will look out for number one on occasion. Maybe they’re close to hitting a plateau like 50 goals and they keep a lot over passing. Maybe they’re close to a bonus so they don’t do what’s best for the team during the last game of the season.

There are times where a player will say “I love the team, but man, I gotta do me right now.”

By throwing this offer up on the website, each individual player has a chance to read the NHL’s offer, which is written in plain, hockey-players-can-understand-it language. What that can do is create some behind-the-scenes stirring. Guys calling Fehr saying it looks good to them, guys calling their player reps to put in their two cents, and guys, in general, may start to feel hopeful that the NHL season is not lost.

The NHLPA, undoubtedly, will not like the move. Some of the players won’t either, as seen below:

Yeahhh, that offer wasn’t quite good enough for public eyes.

They won’t like that it ramps up pressure from the fans, or that it may rile up the players behind the scene. They would’ve been happy with the recent offer, and would’ve preferred that they be able to make a counter-offer before having to feel the heaps of pressure from fans who read the NHL’s offer and go “Kay, looks good to me, what’s your problem NHL?”

But frankly, I don’t think Gary Bettman or the owners are too concerned if the NHLPA is pissed or not. Actually, they probably consider that a bonus.

At this point the NHL has done everything it can to force the PA into making a deal as soon as possible, and for my money, they deserve any PR love they get from that. Pissed off or not, Donald Fehr’s job is to get a good deal done for the players (emotions aside), and I believe he’s capable of doing that.

If anything, it pushes negotiations into overdrive. Elliotte Friedman today wrote about “ZOPA” – the Zone of Potential Agreement, a famous Harvard five-day negotiating course, which according to Daniel Tolensky of Pulver Sports, the NHL has entered.

The NHL and NHLPA will meet tomorrow, and things are going to go in one of two directions. This thing is coming to a head.

Comments (9)

  1. While I realize not everyone is Craig Adams, this seems a bit condescending:
    “written in plain, hockey-players-can-understand-it language”

    • Oh, it’s condescending alright. I am a hockey player, good sir. We’re not exactly taught to read legalese between periods.

      • Especially when you consider a majority of players go the major-junior route which they forgo a post secondary education all together. A lot do not even get their HS diploma. Lets saw when you are 17 or so you were handed a document that concerns a multi billion dollar industry and how it will positively or negatively effect your life. Would you be able to make sense out of said document with your grade 12 educated brain?

        • plus, it helps for the players to get a version that hasn’t been ‘unionized’ by the big boys.

    • Between the large number of players who played Junior in Canada (hence having no post-secondary education) and the large number of European players (with English as their second language), there are WAY more players who would need this explained to them then could understand it. Normally, that explanation would come from the NHLPA, who could put their spin on it. Now they can’t do that. While a little condescending, it’s also totally true.

    • I’m a college grad and I wouldn’t be able to understand the original proposal. Not everyone majored in economics.

  2. “This thing is coming to a head.” I wanted to slow clap after reading that last line.

  3. I’ve got a copy of the old CBA on my desk at home and it’s at least a hundred double-spaced pages. Any attempt to cut it down to a readable length will result in language that seems over simplified.

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