Friday, July 20, 2012
Owners Proposal a "Starting Point"???
1) When the NHL "leaked" its initial proposal to the NHLPA last Friday many pundits/bloggers all seemed to make the same assumption (mistake). They almost uniformly, as if on cue, called it "Just a starting point " Most of these writers (some of who's opinions we respect a great deal) think the owners are low balling the player and will eventually reduce their asking % from 46 to around 50%, etc. Problem with that assessment is that history shows it to NOT be true. The owners didn't give in the last 2 go arounds.
2) For those who may not recall the NHL headed by Gary Bettman held the players out for a 1/2 season in 1995, then again for an entire season in 2004. Both times until the players fractured and capitulated almost completely. Take it to the bank folks, this will happen again. Bettman/owners will certainly get the % down into the upper 40's and reduce the $ that can be counted as hockey revenue. The other issues are really meaningless. The owners are united, and as I point out time and time again on my blog its much easier to keep 30 (29 right now) individuals united than it is to keep 700 unemployed hockey players together. There will be a lockout and lots of bluster then the players will probably fire Fehr (or he'll resign) and return to work with their tails between their legs
3) The only real issue(s) is the amount of money that the new CBA will consider to be "Hockey Related Revenue" and what % the players are going to be allowed to receive. All other issues are window dressing/meaningless. From the most recent history, the players will be forced into a pay cut in every negotiation for the foreseeable future, at least until a significant chunk of the talent starts getting better offers from Europe (see our recent post on this red-menance-on-horozen
4) In our opinion the NHLPA long ago ceased (or has it ever??) being a useful organization to the players. Its actually MUCH more helpful to the NHL/ownership. Without an Association they couldn't institute a salary cap, or even have an Entry draft. All players not under contract would be an UFA. So as we read not long ago the players should decertify. As things stand, the NHLPA cannot do anything but shelter the employer from antitrust rules while facilitating the transfer of money from the players to the teams. Decertifying now doesn’t prevent a work stoppage now because the owners will dismiss it as a bargaining ploy, lock the players out and threaten to spend the next year in court instead of playing. If the players decertify after a new deal is signed, it can not be called /labeled a bargaining ploy. It simply would be a logical move by the players as a whole to prevent/curb future bleeding that surely would result of the staus quo. Yes, it might seem chaotic to think about, but from a players perspective makes sense. It would be a starting point anyway, no?