The longer the cat-and-mouse game known as NHL CBA negotiations go, the potential for ugliness increases. It's become a multi-billion dollar staring contest. The trendy label that's being used is the "rhetoric" between both sides, and the latest rhetoric could change the landscape of the NHL if it's acted upon.’
Kevin McGran of The Star spoke to NHLPA Director Donald Fehr about the current status of the CBA talks, and painted a grim, almost apocalyptic picture if they persist for a long time.
“If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don’t know what they (the players) are going to do. But I think it’s safe to say, they would be exploring all options,” said Fehr."
One option broached by Fehr already would be removing the salary cap—the very thing the owners fought for and players fought against seven years ago.
Here was Bill Daly's response to Fehr:
Bill Daly's response."How the PA ultimately determines to deal with that issue(salary cap) is it's own business....— Gino Reda (@GinoRedaTSN) October 9, 2012
How could the owners react to such a bold move by the PA? How does stripping away guaranteed contracts sound? Chris Stevenson of the Toronto Sun has more:
“So when it comes to reworking positions, what would the owners consider? If the NHL owners ever wanted to get into the "back to the future" type of threat employed repeatedly by Fehr, how about a new system that doesn't have guaranteed contracts? It seems to work for the NFL.”
... Scary words, but that's all they are—hollow threats. The NHLPA is trying to "scare" the owners back to the bargaining table. I don't see any of this ever going down, because you could be looking at the dismantling of the NHL as a sport altogether if it did.
... The good news (if there even is any) is there's still dialouge on the non-economic issues, which have to be agreed upon for a deal to even happen. I'd like to remain a "glass half-full" guy as much as possible.
Isn't that the definition of a fan? You follow your team, you cheer, you weep, you throw things at the TV and curse out the refs. That is what fans do. People who love the sport will always go back. It is the ones who just started watching or who are not upset at this that won't go back.
The difference between what the NHL and Fehr is that Fehr is all bark and no bite. Fehr can ask for anything he wants, but until he finds one person on earth willing to give him that, there's no threat to the NHL. The NHL, in the meantime, can start asking from things like getting rid of guaranteed contracts, and the players will have to accept those things when they eventually come crawling back.
@BuckarooClub I can't say it enough. I really appreciate your insight into the CBA negotiations. Adds a lot to the blog. Thanks Buck!
@KevinDeLury No problem. I appreciate you guys giving us a place to let off a little steam. I have no problem with the players making money, but what's frustrating is that the NHL's offer is so much better then anything else Fehr and NHLPA have, and they refuse to move on it. If the offer is horrible, come back with a counter, and tell us WHY you don't like what you're offering.
While I don't like the fact that their isn't hockey, I can understand where the owners are coming from. They have come forward and said that 18 teams are losing money, and they need to refine the system to make things work. They've also can point to inflation and rising operating costs as their reason for the teams financial woes. If the Fehr could come up with one other place where his guys could get the deal the NHLPA wants, it might be easier to see what the players are waiting for, but it's simply not there.
If Fehr were smart, he'd be crafting an offer that puts EVERYTHING necessary to run a hockey team into HRR. The owners complaint has been that overhead is through the roof. Come up with a way to control their overhead, and now the players are simply fighting for a bigger share of the profit.
First, have the league handle travel, accommodations, and meal cash for every team. A group of players and owners meet each off season, and create a list of acceptable locations and means of travel from city to city, the league uses that list and books everything, the expenses come right off the top, before any split.
Next, have the owners and players agree on a list of personal that is crucial to the operations of the hockey team. Every team might not have the same number of people in theses positions, but every team has them. Break these people into main groups Coaches, Medical Staff, Scouting and Player Development, Front Office Hockey Operations, Front Office Marketing, and Game Day Staff. Everyone who's job falls into one of these defined positions has to have their terms of employment and tax info submitted to the league, making them all 100% transparent. The league averages all these salaries, and gives a credit for the average salary of each group to each team. In essence, it creates a soft cap. Teams can spend more then the average on these positions, but they have to make up the difference out of their own pocket. Again, the money for this comes off the top.
Finally, run all player insurance, retirement, etc through the league, rather then the team. Players will benefit from consistency, no matter what team they are on, and with the league in charge the expense for this will also come off the top.
Now that he's taken all the major expenses of running a team out of the owners hands, the owners and players are talking about how to split of the profit. Anything either side gets now should be gravy. Rather then insisting on rich teams simply handing poor teams money, why not look to allow teams to include cash in trades, or at very least pick up portions of players salaries. Both of these would have the same effect as revenue sharing, but the teams with the cash would be getting something in return for their generosity.
Fehr needs to do SOMETHING, sitting around an waiting hasn't worked so far.
@TheNYRBlog @NHL @NHLPA what are the other issues there still deciding. Get this economic shit done with and lets get on with the season!
that would resolve nothing... nhlpa pulls cap, nhl pulls guaranteed contracts.. they are going in circles... Fans, like myself, are the fools cause we keep coming back...
@TheNYRBlog @nhl @nhlpa One would hardly know there is a salary cap. Didn't the Wild sign 2 players for $99 mil EACH pre-lockout?
@TheNYRBlog I don't know about that, then owners can take off guaranteed contracts and then it gets real ugly