Multiple media outlets are reporting the NHL has tabled its first CBA proposal to the NHLPA. Based on what’s being reported, it’s a proposal that can only be characterized as a swift kick in the nuts low-ball offer to the NHLPA and the first volley in what stands to be a protracted and likely ugly negotiation.

Simply put, after reading what’s being reported as the initial offer being put forward by Gary Bettman and NHL clubs, there is more than a little work to do for there to be any chance whatsoever the 2012-13 season begins on time.

Even by opening offer standards, this is a low-ball proposal with a capital "L" that will be rejected out-of-hand, as most opening offers are, before another 24 hours ticks by. One of the initial reports by the Canadian Press is here.

There is still no word if the phrases "bend over" or "grab your ankles" appear in the offer that’s being tabled, but I’m guessing Donald Fehr and his rank and file will dismiss it as such.


According to the CP story and the proposal put forward by the NHL includes:

–Reducing the player’s share of hockey related revenue (what constitutes hockey related revenue will also be re-defined) by 11 per cent – to 46 per cent from the current 57 per cent.

–NHL player service to UFA status would increase to 10 years. Under the CBA that expires Sept. 15, it’s seven years.

–Standard entry level deals would be for terms of five years. The standard now is three years.

–The NHL is proposing five-year contract limits. That will put an end to long-term deals like the 15-year pact Ilya Kovalchuk signed with New Jersey in in 2010 and the 13-year contracts Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed last week.

That third item – entry level deals being extended to five years – will be of particular interest to fans of the Edmonton Oilers, who have yet to come to terms with 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov.


While neither the NHL or the NHLPA has offered comment on the reports circulating now, there’s been plenty of reaction around the Twitterverse in the hours since the first reports went online.

Jim Matheson@NHLbyMatty First move by NHL owners to tell players they’ll give them 46% of revenues sounds like a ripping elbow to the head to me

Jim Matheson@NHLbyMatty If we have NHL training camps open in mid-Sept, I’ll eat the first three pages of the Official Guide and Record Book.

bruce dowbiggin@dowbboy Nothing in NHL changes till Gary goes and a new commish appears who is not trying to refine 1990s salary cap theory in 2012.

Bryn Griffiths@Fan960Griffiths Wonder if the NHL folks were able to keep a straight face when presenting low-ball first offer to the NHLPA today? #comedynetwork

Bob McKenzie@TSNBobMcKenzie When NFL/NBA deals were settled at (players’ share of) 50 per cent or less, we knew this was destined to be another "takeaway" negotiation.

Settle in, everybody. This has short season written all over it.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Lexi

    I think worse case scenario is the NBA scenario of stoppage until December. The big difference this time that should get a settlement is I think there are more teams like Edmonton/Buffalo that were have not teams in 2004, that are now have teams, and the players are significantly less radical now. There are no players around from the Eagleson era (RNH was born after he left the PA) and a lot who remember missing a year of income from 2004. The fight to me will be between the about 20 have teams and the 10 have-not teams in terms of what compromises they want to give and how much of the season the haves are willing to sacrifice to protect Phoenix/Florida.

  • 1. The problem with positional negotiation rather than interest based negotiation is that it becomes immediately confrontational and guarantees prolonged disagreement.

    2. If I were the NHL I’d very carefully consider the potential unintended consequences of 5 year entry level contracts. The longer you wait to pay a player the more opportunity you give other leagues to convince them to play elsewhere.

    • O.C.

      I agree that there is some potential for a problem if the NHLPA perceive the opening position for more than it is. The real test will be how each side works off the initial proposal. I.E. in reality, the negotiations have yet to begin.

        • O.C.

          Maybe I misinterpreted.

          I’ll try another angle. I consider Friday’s proposal a wish list. Basically the other benchmark to negotiate off of.

          Negotiations start off of each side’s benchmark. The NHLPA would like status quo. The Owners are seeking better.

          Your statement is correct if we find there is a fixation by the Owners on their proposal. Let’s hope it’s simply a line in the sand. Inflexible negotiations will lead to a breakdown. On the other hand, there is also the off chance that Ownership can demonstrate a justifiable reason for considerable movement towards their proposal.

          I see nothing wrong with Ownership’s first proposal, if, it is realistic or they show flexibility. I can’t say the same for the NHLPA, unless they understand they must concede. They know that they cannot hope to achieve the status quo, let alone better.

          • Nothing in my comment related in any way to the proposal by the league. What you seem to be missing is that there is more than one way to approach a negotiation.

            I was referring to their choice of taking a positional approach to this negotiation. Their flexibility, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. Positional negotiation invariably takes longer and is unnecessarily adversarial.

          • O.C.

            Nope, didn’t miss that at all.

            There is no evidence that your opinion is correct, or if mine is. Nor is there evidence that the time frame is protracted by means of the positions taken, from the outset, by either or both sides.

            The methods chosen and the timeframe to consummate each (or together) are perhaps irrelevant.

            There is much at stake. Time may well be extended. To say it is unnecessary is to overlook that we the fans are spectators, nothing more. The players are employees, nothing more. The people funding this project have to bankroll this game. They, and only they, will decide how the performance plays out.

            Whatever their choices are, they will only make necessary decisions. Necessary, from their perspective that is. Perhaps perceived as incorrect or unnecessary by others, but what does that matter to the Ownership?

            It doesn’t matter. This is their game, their money.

            Everything else is irrelevant.

          • Nope, didn’t miss that at all.

            You obviously did miss it because every response you gave repeated how you thought it was a good position.

            Also evidenced by:

            Nor is there evidence that the time frame is protracted by means of the positions taken.

            Another interesting point is:

            There is no evidence that your opinion is correct, or if mine is.

            This is unfortunately false. There is reams of evidence that you are wrong. Two minutes on google would answer that for you but apparently you don’t care.

            The simple fact that positional negotiation training programs don’t even exist anymore should be sufficient evidence.

            There is much at stake. Time may well be extended. To say it is unnecessary is to overlook that we the fans are spectators, nothing more. The players are employees, nothing more. The people funding this project have to bankroll this game. They, and only they, will decide how the performance plays out.

            Whatever their choices are, they will only make necessary decisions. Necessary, from their perspective that is. Perhaps perceived as incorrect or unnecessary by others, but what does that matter to the Ownership?

            It doesn’t matter. This is their game, their money.

            So because it’s their money nobody else can have a valid opinion? Absurd. Your appeal to authority is a bit sad. Do you also believe Steve Tambellini is always right because he’s an NHL GM?

            Negotiating this was means they will leave more on the table than they likely would otherwise, and the only reason to proceed as they have is because they wish to put on a show for the owners of playing hardball. If this is the goal, fine. It’s still wrong.

  • Or, you could come in with the real number, or something VERY close to it, right away and save all the dicking around. You might call throwing out numbers you aren’t really serious about “negotiating,” I don’t.

    You can cut through a lot of BS and wasted time by saying, “This is how much I can afford to pay and not a penny more. Can we make a deal at this price point?”

    On revenue, if the bottom line for Bettman and the owners is, say, 50 per cent, then put that on the table. “We need to get to 50-50.” Cut the 54-46 split crap and get to the number.

    That middle ground, after all, is where most “negotiations” end up anyway after a bunch of useless posturing and posing.

      • Sworkhard

        How do you know the PA didn’t submit?

        Edit. I though you were referring to their wish list.

        Submitting real numbers doesn’t benefit anyone trying to get the best deal they can. If you say, we’d be satisfied with this, and you don’t get it, your not going to be happy. If you go beyond what you want, you just might get a good deal, instead of just a satisfactory one.

    • Sworkhard

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. This is pretty much the NHL’s wish list. The NHLPA will now present their wish list (they probably have already, but it just hasn’t been leaked).

      This isn’t a car. There is a lot of diplomacy and politics in negotiating a CBA. By starting low, you set low baseline so that when you, as an owner, finally get the deal you originally expected to get, the players feel good about the deal and vote for it instead of rejecting it, thereby prolonging the labour dispute. Players and owners both need to be able to save face when asked whey they didn’t get a better deal, and if you start near the middle, you can’t really do that.

    • Let’s all come back to reality. I would argue that these inflammatory titles and posts are more damaging than the offer itself. One can only pray that the PA doesn’t over react like the author.
      Robin, your post above is not realistic. Yes it is what we all would want and would save time and energy but it’s not happening….ever. You are talking about millions of dollars. This won’t be solved over a beer at Boston Pizza.
      Ask for 46 and be happy with 50-52. That’s how it will end up I bet.

        • I guess this is where you and I differ. I don’t see the middle ground of what was offered as low balling.

          This may start an argument but a lot of people (mostly being employees) have almost no idea what it’s like to own and run a business. I am not saying that all businesses are the same as prosports but owners take huge risks and many lose money at times. If a player signed a contract and then gets injured, they still collect their check. They sit in the press box or play on a farm team, same thing.

          When times are good players always want more. It’s natural sure but what about when times are bad? Will they take less? Not a chance. In many businesses you feast on the good times in order to offset the bad. I see this as especially relevant in prosports.

        • John Chambers

          There’s plenty for the NHL to gain with their offer. It was genius:

          The main thing they’re out to win is the revenue %. everything else is just noise. Basically the players union will want to keep things pretty much status quo, but they’ll either have to negotiate away free agency years in exchange for revenue % or vice versa.

          Fehr is an excellent leader, but the NHL is in a far superior negotiating position. As the clock ticks the players lose time on their short careers. The owners don’t sweat because as was evidenced last time the fans will be back.

          The owners basically want the players to take a 20% pay cut. If the recent NFL CBA offers any insight, the players wont have the stomach for a protracted negotiation and will acquiesce soon enough.

          • You tell me I’m wrong and that they have much to gain, but you didn’t bother to tell me what that gain would be.

            I believe you have mistaken my comment for a suggestion they have should have taken a different position. This is false. I don’t believe in positional negotiations period.

            The owners believe they are in a superior position but this is not necessarily the case. The owners need the players to have a league. The players don’t need the owners. They could find new owners and start a new league in a year if necessary.

            Grange wrote a good piece on this regarding the NBA lockout. NHL players don’t have the power of NBA players, but the basic premise would still hold true.

            Both sides need to understand their best alternative to a negotiated resolution.

  • Slapshot

    The NHL and it’s owners are their own worst enemy’s.They sign players to ridiculos contracts and then expect the players to bend over,The Canadian market teams will survive a lock-out,the NHL can say good bye to some of Gary’s prized franchises down south.

  • “Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. This is pretty much the NHL’s wish list. The NHLPA will now present their wish list (they probably have already, but it just hasn’t been leaked).

    This isn’t a car.”

    I understand the “common” process of negotiating and I know what it takes to get a deal done. As the co-owner of a personnel company in Edmonton, we negotiate contracts with private and public sector clients on a weekly basis: term of deals, pay rates, percentage we charge based on temporary placements and fees paid for permanent positions. Full gamut.

    Ask too much (when you’re actually willing to take less), clients walk away and often stay away. Accept too little, you short-sell yourself and squeeze your own bottom line. I’ve learned to get to the real number in the real world. This isn’t theory for me.


    • Sworkhard

      How many of those clients and personnel do you expect to come in and play hard ball with you due to their reputation? Do those clients and personnel have alternative places to do business? Do those clients have the ability to shut your business down by going on strike? Do these personnel come in groups of 4000 and have a notoriously difficult person leading them through the negotiations?

      Dealing with one or two people at a time to negotiate a employment contract isn’t anywhere close to comparable to major sports. Your company already has a baseline due to competition. The NHL doesn’t really have any competition. It would be no different if your company was a monopoly and every construction related company (just picking an industry) in North America had to hire employees/personnel only through you. You could low ball them as much as you wanted, it’s not like they could go elsewhere unless they wanted to leave the continent. The only hope they would have is to form a union and hold out for a better deal.

      The NHL is a hockey Monopoly in North America as the best hockey league in the world. There is no other place for the world’s best players to play each other at this point in time. The KHL or another league may eventually provide some solid competition, but until then, they stand alone.

      It’s easy to negotiate with small groups of people and find something that works by starting close to market value. However, when working with large groups of people that have no choice but to try get a deal done with you or leave the industry, there is no predefined market value, so it only makes sense to start by presenting your wishlist. It’s nearly impossible to get something the majority will be happy with, so instead you have to get a deal done that these players will find acceptable, even if they don’t find it perfect. To try do this you as owners present your wishlist, the players present theirs, and you work through different scenarios until you reach a general framework that both sides fine acceptable. There’s a lot more than money, hours of work, and holidays involved in these deals, so there are a lot more scenarios to work though than when you deal with your clients and personnel.

      Basically, I’m saying your experience doesn’t really transfer very well to the NHL’s situation as you work where market forces largely work as expected and therefore have a pre-defined baseline which the NHL doesn’t have.

    • Sworkhard

      CBA negotiations aren’t like negotiating with an employee over how much you want to pay them vs. how much they want to earn. In that regard, there’s a human element to it. You don’t want to injure the person by giving a low ball offer, saying that’s what you think they really deserve. The NHL did what most GMs do during salary arb with an RFA. They gave a low ball offer because they want the player(s)(NHLPA) to return while the team (NHL) gets most of the benefit.

  • toprightcorner

    i think the nhl is digging themselves into a huge hole ,the tickets are to expensive,look at all the empty seats in the states.i and i am sure many more leave the games many nights and think what a waiste of money.

  • toprightcorner

    I confused as to why the NHL is making a deal that eliminates cap circumvention. Am I wrong or is this not the league and the owners getting together to pay the players less, and if it is, why are the owners pushing to make it more difficult to sign big name players?

    Also, with the Oilers new Russian star, why on earth would the NHL try and extend the rookie contract to five years when they know they are competing for talent with the KHL and the length of the rookie contract is a big reason why players are leaving to go play there?

    I think the point of the last renegotiation was to recognize players are getting paid way too much, and the league needed to reign it in a bit, but with the long, front loaded contracts, owners and teams were basically saying that they were going to buy their teams anyway. Why didn’t everyone work to try and change the culture so that players weren’t overpaid instead of degenerating into a scramble fest where teams line up to pay above top dollar for mediocre talent, and how does this new negotiation help change that? It just all seems strange to me and I’d like someone to explain it to me, so when Nail leaves for Russia, Edmonton can’t get the young UFA’s they need to make a cup team, and all the players play like they just got shafted, I’ll at least know why.

  • Chainsawz

    Love the comment about the players having no leverage. Really? If the players had no leverage, the the NHL would be able to table an even worse offer than the current one, walk away saying “the season starts when you sign”.

    As soon as the NHL budges from their initial offer, the “players have no leverage” theory will be disproven. If you think a little bit bigger picture, there are plenty of revenue streams that shrink or disappear without the players approval of a deal that effect owners.

    Fact is, both sides need a quick deal here and the league coming in with this offer is a counter-productive move on both parties.

  • Sworkhard

    I wonder what the barons would look like if there was a delay to the start of the season.

    Hall, Ebs, RNH, and Schultz all have 2 way entry level contracts.

    Would they play in OKC?

  • “Basically, I’m saying your experience doesn’t really transfer very well to the NHL’s situation as you work where market forces largely work as expected and therefore have a pre-defined baseline which the NHL doesn’t have.”

    I’m not suggesting what I do mirrors the processes and dynamics or the scope and scale of negotiating a CBA between the NHL and NHLPA. I am, however, negotiating real deals with real people and real companies, not theorizing.

    Still waiting to hear where your insights and perspective on the art of negotiation comes from. Practice or theory?

    • Sworkhard

      Since your determined to hear where my insights and perspective on the art of negotiation comes from, the answer is practice and theory.

      The practice part is the 8 contracts I’ve negotiated as an employee, and many times that number with clients as owner of a very small business. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said regarding low balling potential employees or reaching too high with clients. Instead, I’ve learned that the best negotiation tool is to have options and alternatives.

      However, I also know that most of this doesn’t apply to the major north american sports leagues. In business I can determine the market price for my services (both for my small business and as an employee) quite easily with a little bit of research. The only market price the major sports leagues have is the one set by the previous CBA. Combine this with the owner’s hopes of fixing their mismanagement and have more teams make money by making the rules tighter and lowering the amount they spend on salary, and you get offers like this one that appear to be way too low.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    No doubt that’s an aggressive first volley in these proceedings. Surprised there’s no mention of softening of the gauranteed contracts issue, or a mention of possible amnesty clause.

    This could give Yakuopv the little nudge he needs to commit to the KHL for possibly a year or two. We’ll soon find out if his dream is to play in the NHL, or to be rich.

    @ Wes Mantooth

    Edmonton would only have one ball in the drum if the season is wiped out. Nathan MacKinnon wouldn’t be a realistic expection. Oilers would lose one ball for each of the last two yrs they had the first overall selection going into the next entry draft lottery.

    Perhaps someone with more knowledge than i could let us know where we’d draft next June if this season is wiped out.

  • The revenue stuff isn’t that big of a deal. 46% obviously isn’t going to be the final number, but Donald Fehr isn’t a stupid man. He knows the system is out of whack and will ultimately get other concessions (re-defining HHR?) to even some of the loss out.

    As far as UFA status goes…they’re just trying to split the difference in the current UFA age of 27 and the old 30/31. Just set the age to 28 and don’t dick around.

    That ELC provision seems stupid. They want more cost control like MLB has, but this is a poor way to do it. It encourages later European picks to stay in Europe. If you limit it to only 1st rounders, then 2-7 round picks end up making money faster than early picks which makes little sense either. As is, I don’t like the idea.

  • Robin I just can’t understand why you get so defensive so quickly. Whether Sworkhard has experience or not it doesn’t necessarily invalidate his points. I can see both of you being correct depending on the situation. As for me I have been in business for 40 years and have negotiated employee wages and many contracts. In a perfect world both sides would come to the table with what it is they really want but if only one side does it puts the other side in a distinct disadvantage.

    PS I really went to bat for you after your last article and the uproar but in my opinion your voice would be better heard if you were a little less defensive and spoke to the issues.

  • If the NHL locks out again they can kiss any momentum they had south of the border goodbye! Although we all know what the Oilers did right after the last lock out, maybe it’s a good thing….

  • puck-bandit

    Some of us could give a Rats Ass what has been tabled, and what 1st. round is on the table.
    With all due respect, and what little I have left for the league, and the players. My concern is losing our players to a market that we do not have access to, should we hit another stalemate, or potential lockout, then what?
    We can sit here and decipher, break-down, and guess all we want, but take a good look at what is happening to our game.
    Sorry people, I just want to support my team, and watch the game that I have been apart of for 20 years, and beginning to feel that passion for the game is dwindling away, all for the lust of money.

    There are some really good, informative responses on here, well done to those who have really done their homework.

  • Defensive? When a person essentially tells me I don’t have a firm grasp of the negotiating process, I want to know what makes that person think they do and where that perspective is coming from — theory or practice? Fair question.

    I’ve been on both sides of negotiating — now as management/owner of my own company and earlier in my newspaper career on the bargaining committee (and shop steward) of a unionized newsroom.

    And, no small aside, I’ve got a pretty good handle on how NHL/NHLPA CBA negotiations work after toting a notepad for almost 30 years.

    Is the opinion of a person invalid because they don’t have the same hands-on experience as I do? Not necessarily. Might their experience or lack of same put that opinion into perspective? I think so. That’s why I asked. That is, given the person suggested I didn’t really understand the process, speaking to the issues.

    Everybody is welcome to their take, but not all opinions are created equal.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Thanks to Robin for starting this discussion and to Sworkhard in particular and a few others for sharing their experience and knowledge about the large scale negotiation process.
    There are many factors that will determine the outcome of this process in my opinion. The players are vulnerable because their short major earning careers and their love of the gamee makes them more reluctant to give up a season or a significant part of one. The owners must worry about fan reaction, however especially in the weaker US markets where most people care more about other sports anyway, especially if they blame the owners for a lockout.
    In 2004 the battle was over the salary cap and the vast majority of fans believed it was needed for a fair playing field and were angry at the players for resisting it. This time it is mainly about the revenue split and the general belief is that the players get too much in the current arrangement. Fehr knows this and I suspect will ultimately give some ground on it. The question is how much, and what else he can get in non-financial gains for the players in exchange. In the end, if this drags on and the season is delayed the fans and media opinion leaders will turn on whichever side seems to be acting more unreasonably.
    Some of the league’s demands, such as dumping salary arbitration and particularly extending entry level contracts to 5 years are patently ridiculous and one hopes they were designed to be withdrawn as soon as negotiations begn in earnest to appear as if they are being fair. I certainly hope the owners alleged option to allowing the players to participate in Olympic hockey is also a false front as the fans will be with the players on that front.
    the PR battle, which is crucially important to winning over the fan base, will likely turn on the revenue percentage issue. I predict that in the end the PA will try and hold the line at about 53% or possibly 52 if they lack popular support.
    The 5-year contract limit is also absurd. Who loses if teams and players negotiate 8 or 10year contracts coming of an entry level deal. The key is to end the rampant cap cheating and the proposal that the pay for every year must be the same will mainlky take care of that. At the moist, a 5-year term limit for deals with players over 30 and the elimination of signing bonuses will get the job done.
    The players are going to need a win in some area and Fehr will have to find one, perhaps on the issue of player safety, where the nightmare of alzheimer-like symptoms from concussions is genuinely frightening.
    It is too early to say this can’t be worked out by September, as long as both sides have a realistic grasp of the dynamics and are committed to reaching a deal.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Can the NHL withstand another work stoppage? 2004 is still a fresh wound and coming off a wonderful season that seen one of the most important States market win their first ever Stanley Cup. The NHL has really given the PA a kick to the junk here, this offer is going to be seen as a big insult. I agree with trying to push the UFA age upwards of 28-29. The entry level can stay the same and being biased to the Oilers they should try place a cap on second contracts. Although we all know it was Lowe’s doing on driving that up. Who knows how this is all going to play out? I for one will not be expecting any hockey maybe at all this year, lose any time of the season then just kiss hockey goodbye. I can’t go through another 2004.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    2004 cant happen again, especially less than 10 years later. The NHLPA and NHL need to come to an agreement that work stoppages cant occur every time a CBA expires. Come to an agreement on that before they come up with an actual CBA. How does Phoenix survive this? Grown men playing a kids game? Hardly.
    How can either side view a strike or lockout as progress this time around? The medicine is going to taste really bad this time if there’s even a late start to the year.

  • Lexi

    There is zero chance of the whole season being lost. The genius of the revenue%age cap is it acts as a mutual destruction deterrent to each side. The softness of much of the league’s revenue is such that neither side can afford to call each other’s bluff. A lot of the revenue growth has been a by-product of NA economic growth moving back to Canada and the traditional US hockey markets in the last few years and no one can count on that trend continuing. I figure there are 13 US franchises that are teetering and can’t afford anything that would erode the existing support. Plus I would think Pittsburgh, Washington and San Jose could struggle if their teams weren’t contenders and I think Ott, Winn, Edm Cal and even Mon need the Cdn$ at least at 80 cents, plus Buff, Min and even Det are not without economic concerns. I believe NY, Tor, LA, Phil, Chi, Van and Bos are the only teams who can thrive no matter what. The only guarantee expansion market is Southern Ontario, as I think Quebec City doesn’t have the corporate base, and Seattle and Kansas City have never had anyone step forward to buy a team.

    I believe they will play a game of chicken until both sides blink, sometime between Sept 15 and Dec 1. They will tweak the Rev %, cap floor, and UFA age, but will keep the same basic format as it has actually worked pretty well for both sides.

    Personally I don’t care about the mechanics of the deal. I just care how it affects the Oilers and my assumption is any changes would actually benefit them in terms of raising UFA age and lowering cap floor. I’m just glad there will be a deal before we need to sign the young guns.

  • O.C.

    One of the things I really like about the Owner’s position is they appear to be making moves that will also benefit the fan base. Stressing a process that lessens the ability for players to control their destiny (and where they choose to play), could perhaps result in fewer fans retiring a favorite jersey every three years.

    It needs some fine tuning, but perhaps they could find that hidden gem where star players are content to stay, instead of trying to strike a deal where they are forced to stay.

  • MC Hockey

    Wow, lots of debate here and some upset people.

    But I believe that emotion is because none of us (whether bloggers or just commentators) want to see a delayed season as we enjoy the excitement the NHL brings and it helps keep some of us employed or at least entertained.

    And I bet many of us (no matter who we are and how successful), would just like the mainly super-rich owners and wealthy players to come to a timely accord since we probably don’t appreciate very fortunate people arguing over the spoils when many people in our country and others struggle just to get enough food and shelter to stay alive (not the commentators or authors I imagine).

    As for what the owners did with this offer, I agree it’s just part of normal negotiating…if you want 50% of revenues, you cannot start there as you may have to give in on revenue % to get other things you want (like shorter maximum contracts or a change in how the actual hockey-related revenues are calculated).

  • PrairieStew

    One has to ask why the owners position has been leaked in the first place. Clearly it is to curry favour with the public. They can put out this radical opinion and then when they do sign the deal they can show how much they moved. The players obviously have one position and that is status quo. It’s a pretty good position to have since they were dragged kicking and screaming in to it in 04, they can say it is the owners system.

    Don’t forget the owners extended this current deal as well, so their credibility is up against the wall and are coming out aggressively.

    I think instead of focusing on the revenue share numbers, they should look at freezing the salary floor for a while to help the low revenue markets. The floor is now $14 million above the first cap, and it is this “burden” that causes teams struggle to make money. Let the cap grow by a max of 5% annually for the next 5 years and freeze the floor for 3.

    The players should push for an increase to the league minimum, as well as the 2 way salaries.

    If the league wants to increase the ELC length, then they should increase the rookie salary as well.

    I think it is really hard to backwards on the free agency. One could argue the large number of guys on the market keeps costs down – there are some bargains out there.

    The elephant in the room is the long term deals All parties (teams, players and agents) know they are currently circumventing the cap with these 12 and 13 year deals. What I don’t understand is why from a strictly union point of view is the PA allowing players to sign a contract for a salary that may end up being below the league minimum when they collect it ( eg $1m for Suter and Parise in year 13 – I think the minumum will be higher by then). Yes I know that it is likely they will have retired and won’t be around but still on principle this is silly. It’s like me signing a deal to work for $10 an hour in 2025 – when minimum wage will be higher than that.
    What I would like to see instead of a limit on contract length is some honesty in the contract terms. Sign a guy for however long you want, and average the salaries to get your cap number, but don’t allow any one year of the contract to be any more than 2 or 3 times higher than any other. These deals with huge front end load where the pay is 15 times the last year are clearly designed to beat the cap. The Suter and Parise deals are 13 years 98 million, but in reality are 10 year 93 million. That’s an annual cap cheat of $1.8 m for each player times 10 years. $36 million of cap circumvention to the players. Why can’t the owners just say no?