The likelihood of a lockout happening has increased even more leading into Labor day weekend as talks between the NHL and NHLPA have broken off with no meetings or talks scheduled in the immediate future.
“At this point the talks are off, ” Don Fehr told reporters in New York today, indicating that the NHL are the ones who asked to recess talks. Bettman though via Renaud Lavoie of RDS, denies that the league asked to recess talks, saying “I did not decide to recessed. We are happy to meet anytime.”
Fehr though doesn’t see it that way and told reporters that the NHLPA’s proposal was rejected and no traction between the two sides came out of today’s proposal. According to Fehr, the NHL has told the NHLPA that they have no interest in negotiating until the players are willing to take a substantial decrease in player revenue which the players are not.
The league is proposing the players revenue share to drop to 46% down from 57%, while the NHLPA is proposing for the players revenue share to return close to 57% by year four of their proposal which was rejected. The NHL is proposing a six year CBA term, while the NHLPA is still proposing a three year term with an option for a fourth year.
Another issue is revenue sharing regarding all 30 teams as the players feel the the rich teams should take the burden helping out the poor teams, while Fehr indicated today that the NHL has made it known to the NHLPA that the wealthy teams won’t be paying any more in revenue sharing than they do under the current CBA. The league wants the players to take the burden of increasing revenue to teams in need, not the wealthy teams.
With Bettman insisting on the salary cap dropping, there’s no way he will ask big market teams to increase their revenue sharing. Therefore, it’s hard to see the owners caving at any point on that front.
The main issue though remains the owners asking the players to reset salaries and at the end of the day, it’s going to have to be the players who cave for a new CBA to get done, just like in 2005 when they caved and agreed to a salary cap.
Fehr seems to feel that because the players are willing to move forward with a hard salary cap in place and revenues booming, the league has no right to ask the players for paycuts again.
Among the notable quotes from Bettman today, he said the league got “stonewalled” today and the week ends in “disappointment, saying “when either of us have something to say, we’ll pick up the phone, ” in regards to questions about the NHL calling off future talks.
Overall, Bettman feels the players offered nothing today from the standpoint of making concessions, saying the NHLPA’s response was “no we’re not budging”
THE CBA EXPIRES ON SEPTEMBER 15TH