NHL Makes Latest 50/50 Proposal, Hockey Fans Get Aroused by the Possibility of Agreement >

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012

Pardon the title of this article, but the news today turned a part of me into mahogany. When I woke up this morning I was never expecting to hear any good news following the labor meeting that was scheduled for this afternoon. Even if TSN's Darren Dreger had given us a reason for hope yesterday --

That was shared Monday before the scheduled labor talks took place earlier today (Tuesday). But if I've ever been taught to never doubt Dreger's inside info, then today was the perfect lesson. Just hours ago, Dreger's Twitter feed blew up like a meth house --

More NHL insiders like John Shannon took to Twitter to share some of the most important, disclosed details of NHL's latest proposal. Such as....

  • Contract lengths would max out at 5-years. In the previous CBA, a Club and Player could enter into a contract for however many years they wanted. If I were a GM and I wanted to sign Blair Betts to a 50yr, $400M contract....well, then it'd be perfectly fine. But a max of 5yrs on a Player's contract is what's going to save the GM/Owner from themselves. 
  • In order to qualify for Unrestricted Free Agency, a Player would have to be turning either 28yrs old, or has spent 8yrs in the League. Before it was the 27-or-7 Rule. With this proposal, it'd become the 28-or-8 Rule. Simple enough. 
  • Entry-Level Contracts remain 3yrs in length. No change. 
  • The revenue sharing between financially larger Clubs and smaller Clubs will be around $200M. Before it was $150M. That extra $50M comes from somewhere, but NOT salary rollbacks (we'll touch on that in a little bit). 
  • Salary Arbitration remains. No change.
  • Players with 1-Way NHL Contracts playing in the AHL will count against the NHL Club's salary cap. This is very interesting. So, for example, by this rule, if the Flyers were to throw Jody Shelley on waivers, 24-hours go by and he clears and reports to Glens Falls, then his $1.1mm average annual value would still count against the Flyers salary cap. This is obviously another strategy to save the Owners from themselves. It forces the Club to really think before they just throw an offer in front of a forward, blue liner, and/or twine-sitter. In essence, it prevents teams from burying their players in the AHL. This rule has been coined the Wade Redden Rule

This is not the whole proposal. We know this. These are just some of the finer bullet points that the NHL's revealed to the associated media. Only Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman and the rest of the NHL's Officers know the explicit details. 

So, if there's more revenue to share between the Clubs, and none of that is being generated by salary cuts, how on earth is this possible?

Devils' beat writer Tom Gulitti asked the same --

Darren Dreger reports, "NHL intends on calculating lost salary in getting to 50-50 and will pay the players back over time."

Again, very vague. But we're only the peanut crowd. Donald Fehr will nail out all the details to the Players at 5:00pm today, but not before addressing the media himself --

The countdown's begun. Commissioner Bettman has proposed this deal in hopes it's accepted and we can get a full 82-game season started on November 2nd. Shortly after giving the proposal to the Players Association, Gary turned his focus over to the bloodthirsty journalists (his full declaration below) --

Good afternoon, everyone. 

Bill Daly and I just spent the last hour with Don and Steve Fehr, and I would like to briefly report to you on what was discussed.

As I think all of you know we have been extremely disappointed, and that’s an understatement, that we’ve been unable to get these negotiations on the essential elements moving forward.

So, today, we began by discussing with Don and Steve that if we were to drop the puck on November 2nd for the start of the regular season, we could preserve an 82-game schedule for the regular season and play full playoffs as we normally do and be done before the end of June.

We very much want to preserve a full 82-game season, and in that light, we made a proposal, an offer, really that is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs, and this offer that we made obviously was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season.

A lot of you know we don’t negotiate publicly, and I’m not going to break that habit because I don’t think it’s constructive.

The fact of the matter is, we offered a 50-50 share of HRR, hockey related revenues, and we believe we addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50%.

Beyond that, I don’t want to get into the substance other than to say we believe that this was a fair offer for a long-term deal, and it’s one that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on November 2nd — which backing up, entails at least a one-week training camp.

So we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward.

We hope that this effort that we’ve undertaken today would be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans.

Nine or ten days. Mark it on your calendars. 

Fehr did say that this is "an excellent starting point." A blurb which sort of takes the air out of our balloon. The Players were willing to come the closest to a 50/50 share in HRR before today. For the Board of Governors, this latest proposal is both surprising and (I assume) about as good as it's going to get. So, for Fehr to mention that this is "an excellent starting point" makes us scratch our heads a little. It certainly didn't settle my stomach when Don mentioned that the proposal's better in some respects, but in others he's "not sure." I'm guessing the latter is dependent on the Players' reaction to the details.

But, who knows? This is obviously the closest these two parties have come over an exhausting summer of standoff negotiation, tireless rhetoric, and nonperformance on the PR Battle's front which has led us into the third lockout in 20yrs. 

From what I see, this doesn't get us closer to hockey. It absolutely SHOULD get us hockey. However, what's been disclosed to us is only the tip of the iceberg. 

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