The National Hockey League took the first big step today towards breaking the stalemate between the NHL and NHLPA and we’re now in for a wild seven to ten days.
With the NHL looking to begin the season on November 2nd, the real deadline is now October 25th-October 26th and that is the time-period many are looking towards the two sides hopefully reaching agreement.
The big development today is that the players now feel the NHL is finally bargaining in good faith. The reason things have gone nowhere since the lockout became official on Sept. 15th, is because of egos as the players have been extremely turned off because of the NHL’s low ball offer in July. That changed today.
According to two players I spoke with in the late afternoon, both of them expressed optimism in talks moving forward for the sole purpose that the players now feel the NHL is truly bargaining in good faith. While there are things the players don’t like about this offer, the NHL’s offer has left a positive feeling with the players. That’s what I see as the key element of today’s offer. With the egos at play, that’s just as important as the specifics.
For the two players I spoke with today, both by the way make under $700,000, I got the sense that the NHL guaranteeing the players salaries for 2012-2013, could lead to a strong sense of urgency for a majority of players to get a deal done in the proposed framework for the season to start on November 2nd.
Now we sit back and see where this goes in the next seven to ten days and for the first time, the two sides have a proposal to actually negotiate off of. That’s another positive today, but despite the players seeing this as the first serious offer from the league, the players have their share of concerns that must be addressed for a new CBA to still get agreed upon within the proposed time frame.
It is believed that among the key issues of the proposal the players feel have to be addressed is revenue share dropping 57% to 50% initially, players escrow, revenue sharing among teams and max term contract limits of five years. If Don Fehr can get the league to make enough concessions in some of those critical areas, we’re going to have NHL hockey much sooner than many believed.
*Under the NHL’s proposal, the Penguins would open the season in Columbus on November 2nd, picking up when the November schedule begins. Pittsburgh would have four straight road games to open the season. The plan would be for teams to makeup the lost games in the final couple weeks of April, taking the regular season to late April, instead of ending on April 11th. Therefore, the Stanley Cup Finals would likely to be played into the final week of June.
*Rumblings are now that contrary to previous reports, the NHL’s proposed offer has entry level contracts at two years not four.
* TSN reports there would be a Year 1 transition rule for teams to get under the cap, allowing teams to go up to $70 million, in addition to teams being allowed to trade cap space. If a 50/50 split is agreed upon, the salary cap would be between $63-$65 million.