Yesterday it was the NHLPA's turn to submit a proposal and have it shot down. Union spokesman, Donald Fehr, proposed the latest CBA plan -what he called a "dramatic move"- around noon Wednesday and the league promptly said no.
If you're starting to get worried about another missed NHL season, you're not alone.
Fehr's proposal compromised with the league's demands of a 50/50 HRR split while adding the "make whole" provision which slowly reimburses players who would be in violation of the new CBA based on their current contract situation. That provision has both sides about $182 million apart or, $1.2 million over five years per team.
Furthermore, the new deal would protect players from losing money in years 2-5 of the agreement. That means, if the league were somehow to collapse or the economy was so awful that HRR fell, the players would not lose a penny. At first glance, it should be a no-brainer for the owners to accept since hockey has seen dramatic revenue increases the last seven years. However, given the uncertainty of things outside of hockey which could directly affect the league, there is a risk involved.
Nevertheless, this is a moot point since the league shot down the newest proposal. No future meetings have been scheduled at this time but both sides are expected to structure negotiations Friday.
During the NHLPA's submission of the latest proposal, Donald Fehr patted himself on the back for giving up so much to try and get a deal done. While he tries to play the media, the media plays him, letting out a collective "meh" when they read the plan. Many believed there were changes and compromises to the league's plan, but nothing that would get an agreement signed.
Another problem is Gary Bettman's refusal to move from the league's current plan. Rather than hinting at a future counter proposal, Bettman flatly stated, "quite frankly, we have proposed a long-term agreement that we think is fair and balanced." If the players learned anything from 2005, it's that the commissioner has no problem sticking to his guns. This is especially true when you consider the players are losing $8-10 million a day while the owners continue to make money off their businesses. Do you think Detroit Red Wings/Little Caesar's owner, Mike Ilitch, is losing sleep (or money) over stalled talks?
If there's any good news to the most recent proposal being shot down in a flaming ball of fury, it's that both sides are in communication and there is still time left to save the season. After all, the NHL didn't decide to cancel the 2004-2005 season until mid-February. But, both sides need to understand what is at stake and, unfortunately, having two lawyers involved in negotiations only hinders the process; especially when they last came from the NBA and MLB.