Let's get right to the bottom of the CBA "negotiations". NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA head Donald Fehr don't like each other. Both are power hungry guys who wont backdown and don't like to lose. Bettman may not be interested in playing nice with Mr. Fehr to save the season, and in the end it may come down to who blinks first.
What Gary Bettman has proposed
- Reduce player revenue shares from 57% to 46
- Limit the lengths of contracts to 5 years
- Players have to wait 10 years to become Unrestricted Free Agents
- Get rid of signing bonuses
- NHL Entry level contracts extended to 5 years (instead of 3)
- End future salary arbitrations
- To get rid of front loaded contracts, the money must be the same or less in each of the 5 years.
But the real hinging point around the CBA is the revenue between the league, players and owners. The players want more revenue while the league wants to give them less. A recipe for disaster. While I am in the boat that says the players are already making for too much money to play hockey, the reduced revenue proposal is ludicrous. Look at it this way; The league revenue right now is at $3.3 billion which has sky rocketed since the last lockout where revenue was $2.2 billion. During the last CBA/lockout the players had a revenue percentage of 75, and that was a much smaller cut as opposed to them making that amount with todays revenue. But here's the kicker since the lockout out each NHL team is making $47.3 million as opposed to $18.3 million before the lockout. Some teams are crying poor and instead of sorting the revenue out amongst the other owners they have decided to take it out against the players. But the players have a different idea, they want a bigger piece of the pie. Considering the players are the major reason the NHL has revenue they should be getting a little more of the revenue they are making the NHL.
While this was just the first proposition and the revenue for players will end up being different in the end. The NHL needs to be careful about losing players to the dreaded KHL. As of right now the KHL doesn't have any issues throwing large sums of money to lure players away from the NHL, and it may work. Especially with young rookies who if this CBA gets passed will have to wait 5 years before getting a half decent contract. So if the Mr. Bettman isn't careful the KHL will end up with a lot of young talented hockey players that had their sights on the NHL.
But the good news for hockey fans is this is just step one in a very long process. What the two sides are doing right now are offering their versions of what they want in a perfect NHL. There is still a lot of debating ahead before October and one side has to cave.