NHL offers the players a 50/50 split

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2012 11:21AM

According to multiple reports, the NHL has made a new offer to the players’ association during their meeting today. One portion the proposal is the offer of a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players.

The following via TSN:

The NHL put a new offer on the bargaining table for the NHL Players' Association on Tuesday morning, which includes a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue and contingent on an 82-game season beginning Nov. 2.

So, under the NHL offer, we'd see a slightly more compact schedule, but the league would still get in a full 82 games, which is good news for everyone involved. The part that will likely be hard to swallow is the NHL's demand that players drop to 50 percent immediately, rather shifting gradually to that figure over a year or two.

The really interesting component of the deal is that it appears the league would pay players for a full season, if an 82-game schedule is possible once the deal is agreed to. From Elliotte Friedman:

I'd expect the key thing for players to discuss is what sounds like an NHL offer to "return" whatever is lost on their salaries this season.

Meanwhile, Donald Fehr tells the media that the proposed CBA would be at least a six year deal, and that the players will discuss the new offer at a 5 PM conference call. For now, he seems to be keeping his comments short, but he did say that the NHLPA would get back to the owners on this new offer soon - by Tuesday or Wednesday.
 
My initial reaction is that this obviously won't be the final offer that gets things settled, but this might be the offer that kickstarts earnest negotiations on key financial issues. If the players are willing to accept 50 percent of hockey-related revenue, or something in the ball park, this should trigger a counter-proposal from them, with my guess being that they target both the implementation period (in other words: asking for a gradual reduction to 50/50 rather than a sharp step down) and the 50 percent total.
 
These negotiations have been frustrating for everyone, but this is a perfect example of why constant talks are preferable to total silence - eventually, one side or the other will say something that catches the attention of their counterparts. Hockey fans longing for a 2012-13 season just need to hope that this is the offer that finally catches the players' interest. 
 
If it doesn't, that's probably the last hope for a full 82-game campaign. And if the league starts cutting games permanently, that's exactly the sort of thing that could lead to worse offers the rest of the way.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Jordan Greenling
October 16 2012, 11:24AM
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Lets start the FIST game of the season!

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#2 A-Mc
October 16 2012, 11:26AM
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82 games still w/ a late start of nov 2? SWEET!

We'll have hockey well into the summer almost hahahaaaaa, Then the regular preseason stuff will start the following september.

OH JOY.

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#3 Will
October 16 2012, 11:31AM
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This offer is shameful. It doesn't at all take into account the recent purchases made by players. How the hell is Weber going to make his down payment on on that island if he has to drop down to 50% without a gradual decrease? What about all those new sports cars, and pricey dinners. Hell, even when the revenue was 57% for players, the Oilers still needed to skip out on at least one check last year, imagine how they'll fair in the fine dinning and bottle service scene now Mr. Bettman. You cold heartless Bastard!

As a fan I can only hope some kind of ticket price increase is proposed in order to help out these poor middle rich class players, who are in serious danger of becoming sub middle rich. It should dovetail nicely with the mandatory ticket increase, otherwise known as taxes, in order to help pay for a new downtown arena.

This whole thing honestly almost makes me want to give a big middle finger to all professional sports and just go cheer for the CFL.

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#4 match16
October 16 2012, 11:41AM
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@A-Mc

It states that the season would see a "slightly more compact schedule." Every team will fit in an extra game every 5 weeks is what the TSN article says.

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#5 Bryan in SK
October 16 2012, 03:30PM
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On the outside, I'm screaming, "I don't care! They're crazy! I'm not watching NHL hockey ever again, let alone past June 15! Go Pats Go!!!"

(on the inside... can't wait to get my Oilers jersey out of the closet again... Please don't tell Gary & Don. Don't even want them to think I'm paying attention.)

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@DSF

Dude, you are making too much sense lately. I'm kinda missing the old reliable DSF. Can you tell me how Yakupov has no chance in hell of winning the Calder, just for old time sakes:)

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#7 TigerUnderGlass
October 16 2012, 06:02PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Yer stoopid

I know you are but what am I?

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#8 Moses
October 16 2012, 11:24AM
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FIST real offer

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#9 Harlie
October 16 2012, 11:26AM
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Good fist step in the right direction.

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#10 DSF
October 16 2012, 11:26AM
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One way to accomplish the first year with no rollback is to allow the league to take a bigger share in years 2 and 3 to balance year 1.

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#11 Sanaa Montana
October 16 2012, 11:29AM
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FTW.!..

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#12 Truth
October 16 2012, 11:31AM
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Interesting to see how this is received by the NHLPA. If I was them I would be saying that this should have been the first offer and will be looked at as so. The initial 43% to the players was ridiculous. I still think the NHLPA wants to start this year at 57% and gradually get down.

Apparently the NHL is saying the difference (57-50) will be made up within the length of the players contract. Interesting to see how that works if it's a 50/50 split. Buyouts off the books in year one maybe?

I do hope they accept it however. It's only preseason but I cannot handle the NBA highlights already. Wow, another 7 footer dunks on a net he can reach standing flat footed.

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#13 Oilfan69
October 16 2012, 11:42AM
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Greg Wyshynski ‏@wyshynski @JSportsnet w/ details: UFA at 28 yrs/8yrs in NHL; entry level deals = 4 years; long-term contracts capped at 5 yrs.; still have arbitration

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#14 CaptainLander
October 16 2012, 11:45AM
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My prediction:

League - "Here is our latest offer...."

Players - "Hmmm...no"

League - "See you next year"

Players - "Woohoo - Year off work!, in your face fans! We have the power!"

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#15 nathan
October 16 2012, 11:51AM
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There is not much time left to play 82 games, so the no rollback part of the offer has a credible self destruct timer. If the players are game for 50-50 but want to avoid a 1st year hit playing a full season is a no brainer. Very good timing. A full or half season is probably gone if this doesn't close.

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#16 mike
October 16 2012, 11:56AM
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Smart move by the NHL. Reasonable offer, still get all the games in and so if a deal is not consumated through this offer (with some tweaks here and there) than the players will look like the bad greedy guys and the owners can say "we tried - talk to the players about why there is no hockey"

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#17 thebiggestmanintheworld
October 16 2012, 12:09PM
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Dear NHLPA, Just sign. We don't care how proud you are. We dont care about what you think is right. We don't care if you think its fair or just.

We just care about hockey. We cared about it before you played and we will care about it after. You are interesting and entertaining and put the shine on the star that is the NHL.

But never forget you are not bigger than hockey. Never have been, never will be. You owe the game. We owe you nothing.

Swallow your pride and do the right thing.

Just sign. Sincerely, some tired hockey fans.......

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#18 Karth
October 16 2012, 12:09PM
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Good offer. It will get tweaked I'm sure but the framework is there. I do negotiations for a living and it takes a big man to put the deal ahead of himself. Good job Gary and the owners.

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#19 Muji 狗
October 16 2012, 12:10PM
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I'm still not sure which side I agree with more - maybe neither - but the NHL side has definitely negotiated "less badly" than the NHLPA side.

Smart negotiating. They started out with a hilariously bad offer a couple months ago and have been slowly but surely moving towards this 50/50 offer (which is probably close to what they wanted all along). It makes it seem like they compromised.

The players, on the other hand, started out with a similarly hilariously bad offer that was obviously trying to create a split between the Have-teams and Have-not-teams. That didn't work. They've since done nothing but bitch and moan about the league and owners, complaining that they aren't willing to compromise (but see above).

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#20 Cheap Shot Charlie
October 16 2012, 12:20PM
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The best part (besides actually having a season) is that UFA wouldn't start until age 28 or 8 years of service. That sounds fair for teams bringing up young talent slowly and it's fair for superstars who jump to the NHL at 18.

If the 2 sides don't make this work than I'll...I'll...I'll be very disappointed!

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#21 EHH Team
October 16 2012, 12:23PM
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Finally some good news. Perhaps a two or three year transition to 50% will be all that needs to happen for the deal to be done, at least, here's hoping.

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#22 Dawn
October 16 2012, 12:23PM
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Well that was a surprise. Sure hope it's not a sick joke with some crazy bad thing hiding in the small print. Think the owners noticed that our local sports radio never even mentioned NHL this morning? I noticed. Had me thinking that the lockout has become irrelevant compared to NFL, CFL, and MLB playoffs.

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#23 mayorpoop
October 16 2012, 12:34PM
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well it's nice someone sat down at the big boy table with some other intention than just eating a free lunch.

regardless of the details the NHL took a very smart step today presenting a deal that "appears" to a win win.

players gonna look as stupid as Walsha if they don't take it. i wouldn't want that.

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#24 Z
October 16 2012, 12:35PM
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YAAY A REAL OFFER!

Finally.

Lets get this done soon please.

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#25 Sanaa Montana
October 16 2012, 12:46PM
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The new deal would be magnificent for the Oilers. We would get the chance to have the kids re-signed long term and then they would be RFA's for another contract negotiation.

I believe that the under the new CBA, NHL will put two more teams in Canada, they will try to move out of the non-profitable cities.

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#26 Pouzar99
October 16 2012, 12:46PM
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Still some details to learn, surely some negotiating still to come, but for the first time in a long time I am now pretty sure we will have hockey this year.

If the Sportsnet tweet is correct I believe only the additional year on entry level contracts will be strongly resisted, as it should be.

The mechanics of the first year of the deal are a little unclear to me but certainly it provides a framework from which a deal can be worked out.

If they start Nov 2 this is absolutely perfect for the Oilers. I believe that was the projected date for Hall's first game in OKC! Yak will have had the benefit of about 10 KHL games and Schultz a handful in the AHL.

With half of the NHl teams already at $62 million or more on salaries for this season, not sure how this can be done without salary rollbacks or a major escrow grab however. Should be an interesting couple of days.

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#27 Spydyr
October 16 2012, 12:47PM
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On free agency.

Why not extend it to 10 years.After 8 years the team losing the player retains the right to match any offer. Just like restricted free agency.The difference. If the team does not match there is no compensation.The player just leaves.

That way teams can hold onto their players if they want to spend the money.The players can get more money from offers.As i'm sure there will be some crazy offers made.

The best part, lousy GM's who over pay,will screw themselves in the end.

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#28 DSF
October 16 2012, 01:02PM
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Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

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#29 rindog
October 16 2012, 01:11PM
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DSF wrote:

Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

Really?

If that's the best you got...

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#30 EHH Team
October 16 2012, 01:17PM
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DSF wrote:

Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

so how does the Luongo contract look now for a trade?

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#31 Smokey
October 16 2012, 01:18PM
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DSF wrote:

Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

Explain. You may be 100 percent right...

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#32 Sanaa Montana
October 16 2012, 01:19PM
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@rindog

If his If was a spliff, we'd be all fcuked up!

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#33 RyanCoke
October 16 2012, 01:24PM
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DSF wrote:

Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

I think it was smart when it was done regardless. Hockey is still not guaranteed for this year and they had to be signed before going to RFA which would happen if we miss the season. The money is still reasonable and we don't know all the details of the current proposal or the proposal that ends up getting signed, whether that be for season to start Nov. 2 or for next season.

On a side note. I think this is a very smart move by the owners. The fans will come back because we still get a full 82 game season and now we are hungrier than ever for hockey. No one can go on there hunger strikes or whatever they/we were planning because we potentially have hockey again.

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#34 BleedingOil
October 16 2012, 01:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Signing Hall and Eberle to 6 year contracts a year before necessary is not looking very smart right now.

we will have to wait and see if there is any grandfathering. I would not want to go another year on their ELC's and then try to negotiate a contract having to consider the 2012-2013 season too. Also, because the new contract is not in effect yet, maybe they will roll it back to 5 years. If they signed a 5 year deal before the CBA, I bet we would be paying them more than we are now. Personally, I think this situation is better for us.

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#35 A-Mc
October 16 2012, 01:31PM
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match16 wrote:

@A-Mc

It states that the season would see a "slightly more compact schedule." Every team will fit in an extra game every 5 weeks is what the TSN article says.

When i posted my response, the article was much much shorter with a "more to come" type tag at the bottom. And i didnt bother to read the article as it felt like details were still unfolding.

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#36 book¡e
October 16 2012, 01:34PM
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I said it long ago. This thing ends at 50/50 or 49/51, the Players win some concessions on parking spaces or hotel rooms or something like that so that they can say that they negotiated hard and got some victories in this thing.

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#37 pelhem grenville
October 16 2012, 01:34PM
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...three point three Billion divided by two equals what? ...each?

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#38 Smokey
October 16 2012, 01:34PM
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BleedingOil, ya I agree, we probably are paying too much too early, and that's why I did not understand the excitement of some about about the contracts Hall and Ebs signed. I think the Oilers brass in the past attempted to predict the marketplace, hence the Horcoff contract, and with the Hall and Ebs contracts, it looks like they are following the pack. Its probably good that they got the players signed because no one knows the final details of the CBA. I think in the end the contracts will be fair market value and the overpay will be in the first 2 years, and long term it won't make any difference.

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#39 Truth
October 16 2012, 01:38PM
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I'd like to see how they are proposing to deal with buyouts and guaranteed contracts. Especially if they are trying to include AHL contracts into the salary cap. I would guess that much less of a cap penalty would be applied for a buyout.

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#40 vetinari
October 16 2012, 01:44PM
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Good offer to use as a framework for both sides... players who signed mega-salaries in the offseason would see no rollback and teams could budget for the new salary floor and cap with only a 7% adjustment... players would also theoretically see their full 2012-13 salaries... it looks like any time spent overseas or in other leagues would, in effect, be the player's preseason to get them into game shape.

I suspect that the big issues now for the PA will be: "let's define HRR" (which may still be a huge sticking point and delay matters) and "how quickly does this get implemented". On this last point, I suspect that the owners will be sympathetic to a 1 or 2 year "phase in" period because a number of teams would have to do some heavy trading, buyouts or demoting of players to come in under the new projected cap, and a phase in period of say, 2 years, with 2012-13 reduced down to 54% of HRR and 2013-14 reduced down to 52% before landing at 50/50 in 2014-15 would allow GMs time to adjust rosters without a complete fire sale of talent. This might be the owners future "concession" to get players to concede to longer entry level contracts and longer RFA status.

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#41 EHH Team
October 16 2012, 01:50PM
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I heard the offer includes an increase in revenue sharing to $200 million. Anybody know how this would work and how it compares with the previos CBA?

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#42 DSF
October 16 2012, 01:52PM
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EHH Team wrote:

so how does the Luongo contract look now for a trade?

No different than it did yesterday.

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#43 Archaeologuy
October 16 2012, 01:56PM
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The PA has to know that the prospects of not playing 82 games could significantly hurt the total HRR that their salaries are based off of. The more they drag their feet the more it hurts the players.

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#44 DSF
October 16 2012, 02:00PM
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Smokey wrote:

Explain. You may be 100 percent right...

A couple of the NHL proposals are designed to put a drag on second contracts.

Increasing ELC's and boosting the age before players reach UFA will result in milder contracts for young players.

Even though I expect existing contracts will be grandfathered, the cap is going to go down meaning teams that have already signed their young stars to long second contracts at above current market value will be at a competitive disadvantage (cap wise) to teams signing players coming off their ELC's under the new agreement.

a 6 million dollar player right now could be a 4-5 million a year player next year at this time.

Of course the devil is in the details.

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#45 DSF
October 16 2012, 02:08PM
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vetinari wrote:

Good offer to use as a framework for both sides... players who signed mega-salaries in the offseason would see no rollback and teams could budget for the new salary floor and cap with only a 7% adjustment... players would also theoretically see their full 2012-13 salaries... it looks like any time spent overseas or in other leagues would, in effect, be the player's preseason to get them into game shape.

I suspect that the big issues now for the PA will be: "let's define HRR" (which may still be a huge sticking point and delay matters) and "how quickly does this get implemented". On this last point, I suspect that the owners will be sympathetic to a 1 or 2 year "phase in" period because a number of teams would have to do some heavy trading, buyouts or demoting of players to come in under the new projected cap, and a phase in period of say, 2 years, with 2012-13 reduced down to 54% of HRR and 2013-14 reduced down to 52% before landing at 50/50 in 2014-15 would allow GMs time to adjust rosters without a complete fire sale of talent. This might be the owners future "concession" to get players to concede to longer entry level contracts and longer RFA status.

Based on the reports that I've seen...the split will be 50-50 right off the hop with the NHL said to be proposing a mechanism to pay players on existing contracts what they are owed "over time".

This could take many forms but one suggestion I've seen is creating an annuity for these players to get paid back over a longer time frame.

For example, a player who just signed a $10M contract would have his salary (and cap hit) reduced to $8.5 million with the difference being paid back over a 10 year period.

With the growth in HRR, the team owners would hardly notice the amount over time unless, of course, the owner has signed a bunch of players to stupid contracts.

From Pierre LeBrun:

" One of the key question players will have is just how the 50-50 split, down from the 57 percent earned by the players in the expired collective bargaining agreement, will affect their current signed contracts. That has been a key issue in these negotiations -- players not wanting to give up much, if any, of current signed salaries via escrow payments in any new CBA.

A source told ESPN.com that there is a mechanism in place in the league's latest offer to defer payments based on future growth -- in other words, somewhat mitigating the players' financial pain in the first few years."

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8512006/nhl-offers-players-50-50-split-hockey-related-revenue

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#46 DSF
October 16 2012, 02:28PM
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The Nuts and Bolts:

REVENUE SPLIT: 50-50 (players received 57 per cent last year)

LENGTH OF CBA: six years (old one covered seven years)

ARBITRATION: unchanged

AHL: Salaries in for players in minors part of the cap (minor league salaries don’t count currently)

CONTRACT LIMITS: five years (no limits currently)

ENTRY LEVEL CONTRACTS: limited to four years (up from three)

REVENUE SHARING: $200 million pool (currently about $100 million)

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#47 Old Soldier
October 16 2012, 02:34PM
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Okay I have to say something, folks have spent a lot of time hammering Bettman, saying he doesnt care about hockey, and when he and the owners step up to the plate and make a fair offer, you mock him for it. This is why the man makes that ridiculous money, because he cant win. As a hockey fan, Bettman just got a lot of my respect for swallowing his pride and stepping up to the plate......a lot more respect than the NHLPA and Fehr gets.

Okay, for those who are or were so pro-player, once again the NHL is the one putting up a proposal, and a fair proposal at that. So what excuses are Fehr and his boys going to come up with to ignore this one? They say they want to play this season......the owners offer includes an 82 game season. They say they don’t want a rollback.....the owners offer doesn’t include a rollback. I have been pro-owner in this since the start, and I personally am surprised by the owners offer.

Considering the NHLPA has not presented anything since the initial offer, and all they do is take turns on Twitter acting like asses, whining about how poorly they are treated and how they never get any respect, I would not have been so generous and made this offer. But having said that, I am curious to see if and how the NHLPA twists this offer into a negative, and we all know they will, I think they will not consider a 50/50 split, I think for appearances sake they want even that 1% more than the owners to say they “won”.

And who is advising these guys??? Agents like Alan Walsh (how does that guy get clients?), or Donald Fehr, who has already stated that he is not staying with the NHLPA after this negotiation. No-one talks about that, the man is a mercenary who has no vested interest in the league and no matter what the result, he is walking away with his paycheck afterwards.......and everyone jumps on Bettman. Even one of the biggest players advocates Nik Kypreos says this is a fair proposal......and yet my gut tells me that in the next day or two we will be reading about how the players are upset about something or other in it, and that they can’t make a counter offer based on that.

To quote Fehr "this is an excellent start"....a little ominous sounding to me.

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#48 DSF
October 16 2012, 02:45PM
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Old Soldier wrote:

Okay I have to say something, folks have spent a lot of time hammering Bettman, saying he doesnt care about hockey, and when he and the owners step up to the plate and make a fair offer, you mock him for it. This is why the man makes that ridiculous money, because he cant win. As a hockey fan, Bettman just got a lot of my respect for swallowing his pride and stepping up to the plate......a lot more respect than the NHLPA and Fehr gets.

Okay, for those who are or were so pro-player, once again the NHL is the one putting up a proposal, and a fair proposal at that. So what excuses are Fehr and his boys going to come up with to ignore this one? They say they want to play this season......the owners offer includes an 82 game season. They say they don’t want a rollback.....the owners offer doesn’t include a rollback. I have been pro-owner in this since the start, and I personally am surprised by the owners offer.

Considering the NHLPA has not presented anything since the initial offer, and all they do is take turns on Twitter acting like asses, whining about how poorly they are treated and how they never get any respect, I would not have been so generous and made this offer. But having said that, I am curious to see if and how the NHLPA twists this offer into a negative, and we all know they will, I think they will not consider a 50/50 split, I think for appearances sake they want even that 1% more than the owners to say they “won”.

And who is advising these guys??? Agents like Alan Walsh (how does that guy get clients?), or Donald Fehr, who has already stated that he is not staying with the NHLPA after this negotiation. No-one talks about that, the man is a mercenary who has no vested interest in the league and no matter what the result, he is walking away with his paycheck afterwards.......and everyone jumps on Bettman. Even one of the biggest players advocates Nik Kypreos says this is a fair proposal......and yet my gut tells me that in the next day or two we will be reading about how the players are upset about something or other in it, and that they can’t make a counter offer based on that.

To quote Fehr "this is an excellent start"....a little ominous sounding to me.

Bettman's initial offer was ridiculous and insulted the players.

Had it been like the offer presented today, the season would have started on time.

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#49 Shaun
October 16 2012, 02:53PM
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@Old Soldier

Old Soldier, you're bang on. Sometimes I feel I'm the only one who has no problem with Gary Bettman. He looks like the bad guy a lot of the time, but he's just the mouthpiece of the owners. Don't get me wrong -- he has a lot of influence -- but he's often lambasted for all that is wrong with the NHL, while never getting credit for all that is *right*.

I'm not going to start a Gary Bettman fan club, but he's not deserving of all the demonizing he receives. And it's hard to deny that the pure timing of this proposal is brilliant.

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#50 Shaun
October 16 2012, 02:59PM
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DSF wrote:

Bettman's initial offer was ridiculous and insulted the players.

Had it been like the offer presented today, the season would have started on time.

I don't think the initial offer was ridiculous. In most negotiations, you draw a line in the sand that is very favorable for your side, and the other side does the same. That's what happened in this case, BUT the players' side took it too personally, when the reality is that it was just a negotiation tactic and truly "nothing personal." By that same token, the players getting Alberta and Quebec labour boards involved was just a tactic. The NHL didn't take it personally.

I'm not saying the owners side is definitively "right" in all of this, but frankly, they were coming at the process from a purely business perspective. The players approached that from a "how dare you lowball us" perspective and refused to seriously negotiate because of it. Honestly -- read some of the RECENT player tweets. Many of them still cite the owners' original offer, when the reality is that they should have gotten over it, and not taken it personally.

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