With a scant two weeks to go before Bettman gets to impose his lockout ,NHL/NHLPA labor negotiations grind to a bloody halt after talks broke off on Friday. NHLPA director Don Fehr announced that the NHL asked that talks be ”recessed” after the union presented its second main proposal during negotiations held at the league’s headquarters in New York. Fehr declared that player’s attempt to forestall a lockout ”did not bear fruit.” The NHLPA has
The NHLPA’s latest offer came three days after the NHL made its first counter-proposal. After asking the players to cut their share of hockey revenue from fifty-seven to forty-three percent,(once again asking the players to pay for poor management decisions) the owners upped its proposal to have the players get a forty-six percent share over a six year deal. The term “hockey related revenue” became part banner, part cudgel as negotiators on both sides crunched the numbers to come up with some sort of reasonable compromise.
The two sides took a break from talks on Thursday, after the union said it was preparing a counter-proposal. The current CBA expires on September 15th. The NHL is prepared to lock out the players if no deal is reached by then. The NHL regular season is scheduled to open on October 11th, but that date is now in jeopardy. Both parties were scheduled to continue negotiations in New York next week, but Fehr’s statement makes one believe that the upcoming round of negotiations will be held in abeyance.
The owners take on this? NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he doesn’t see a need to continue negotiations until new ideas can be brought to the table. ”Someone needs to say something new,” Bettman said. (Perhaps the owner saying something about a new commissioner perhaps?) ”What I thought was a promising week ended with disappointment,” Bettman said. ”We’re hopeful that it’s a meaningful proposal that we can continue to make progress from,” offered up Bill Daly. (Bettman’s # 2) ”We feel like we made a good step in that direction earlier this week and we hope that they would make a step forward as well.” Not bloody likely.
The players and the union’s take on this mess? The NHLPA has questioned why is the league’s owners attempting to have players bear the burden of the lost revenue, especially after the league reported record revenues topping $3.1 billion last season. The players were rightfully angry with the NHL’s ‘do as I say, don’t do as I do’ approach. Attempting to limit contract lengths while offering career length contracts to others. Not only were the players expected to take a sizable cut in their share of revenues, the NHL wanted to place severe limits on free agency while and remove the players’ rights to salary arbitration. (In essence, bringing the joys of old time indentured servitude back to a professional sport.)
The NHLPA has taken a different approach in its proposal. The players agreed with the league’s that there were ‘hard-core economic issues’ that needed to be fixed. Thus, the union had proposed reducing its share of revenues for the first three years. (a savings plan between $450-$800 million dollars) The players put in the option to return to the terms of the 2005 CBA in the fourth year.
Now what folks? Look at what’s going on in Twitter. 85% of the people on there are screaming about the greed of the owners. 95% are screaming about the lockout and how much the missed games will mean to them. Practically everyone is asking for the head(at least the merciful ones only want that)of Bettman. Me? I am not as entrenched with my love of hockey as others. My passion may not be as fanatical as others. I found myself going to the computer, and calling up Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. I’ll admit it, when Bergeron gets the short handed goal to take us up 3-0, I start tearing up. No matter how bad this lockout becomes… we of Bruins Nation will have the memories.
All the same though, I’d like to make some new ones too.