One of the major stumbling blocks in these negotiations has been deciding how to divide Hockey Related Revenue between both the league and the players. As expected both sides wanted a bigger piece of the pie and neither were ready to back down, until today. Gary Bettman submitted a new proposal today that would see both the league and the players splitting HRR 50-50. In addition to the 50-50 split Bettman has given the players the opportunity to play a full 82 game season that would begin on November 2nd. Is it a sure deal, no. But it's a step in the right direction towards getting a deal done.
Up until today Bettman and the owners refused to cave and laid all the pressure on the players to cave and get the game going. Only problem was that all the fans were on the side of the players. With this new offer that appears to be fair everything falls directly on the players; accept the offer and start the season November 2nd or turn down the offer and lose the fan support. Tough choice.
Key points in the NHLs offer include:
- Players share of HRR will be 50% for the 6 years of the new proposed CBA.
- The new CBA would be in effect for 6 years with a option for 7th
- Entry level contracts will only be restricted to 2 years
- The maximum length for player deals will be 5 years
- Players over the age of 28 or who have 8 years of NHL experience will qualify for unrestricted free agency. Earliest a player could reach free agency would be 26.
- All players who signed a contract longer than 5 years will be maintained and will count against a teams cap space.
- A cap maximum of $70.2 million with a floor of $49.7 millions
- A full 82 NHL season plus playoffs that will begin November 2nd and possibly end the last week of June.
Oddly enough Bettman has stated many times that he doesn't negotiate in public but released a
detailed copy of the NHLs proposal to the players online. Could this just be a public relations move to get the fans support?
"We’re focused on getting the puck dropped on Nov. 2 and playing a full 82-game regular season and full playoffs, That’s what this offer is all about.” ~Gary Bettman
Sure sounds like Bettman is trying to tickle our ears! The more one reviews the proposal it appears that this is more of an attempt for the commissioner to show the public he is committed to getting a deal done and starting the season. There are points the players are going to like and points they aren't; the 50-50 split is a major positive where as waiting until age 28 for UFA is likely not going to fly well. It just depends on how much each side is willing to compromise.
But the fact the NHL submitted a new, somewhat "player friendly" proposal is a huge positive. It means they are ready to negotiate and get the deal done to get hockey back. Right now it's all on the players, how badly do they really want to get a deal done? They've been saying they just "want to play" so here's their chance. If the players don't accept the deal and counter something the league will scoff at, they will lose the PR battle with the fans. It's a tough spot for the players but a extremely smart move by Bettman.
Whether you want to believe it or not this latest proposal from the league a great turning point in these negotiations. Now that Bettman has "given in" and made the first significant proposal both sides can now freely make their points without the feeling of sabotaging the negotiations.
The reaction from players and Donald fehr is that this new proposal is a "good starting point" and they are expected to submit a counter proposal in the next 24 hours. Only problem, how much further is Bettman willing to bend?
At the end of the day Fehr's job is not to settle but rather to get the best possible deal for the players and they will not be satisfied with just 50% of the pie.
What do you think about the new proposal from the league; Is it fair? Should the players submit?