No good news from the CBA negotiations. Bettman heavily criticized the NHLPA’s counter proposal and did everything but put on a helmet and grab his gun – the NHL is prepared for war. The commish stated that he believes there is a wide gap still between the two sides and cast serious doubt that this will all be straightened out by the Septemeber 15th deadline.
The issue here is money. As all lockouts are. The problem here is that the owners want to set the NHL back rather then move forward. When Lappy joined us on Broad Street Buzz Radio he said the revenue sharing is the number one issue to be dealt with. All other issues will fall in line once the money is split in a way that both sides are reasonably happy.
Part of it is the owners do not want a modified league revenue sharing plan. The more profitable franchises do not want to give up any more of their money to the struggling franchises. They do not want to sacrifice for the greater good. That’s what this is about. The NHL is thriving right now and owners know it would be a terrible business decision to lose an entire year of income from their franchise. The thing that should scare all fans though is that if the owners are anything its stubborn and they don’t bluff.
The last lockout was not long ago, but the difference between then and now is that the NHL has skyrocketed in popularity (tv, attendance, merchandise) since the lockout. NHLPA executive Donald Fehr did have somewhat hopeful words after the just one hour long meeting, he said that the counter proposal was preliminary and that further discussions were needed.
He didn’t leave without a shot at the owners though. Fehr said “There’s a pretty substantial monetary gulf which is there and when you start with the proposal the owners made, how could it be otherwise.”
He has a valid point though. The owners initial proposal saw ridiculous salary cuts that would result to a salary cap of around $55 million a team. The way I look at it is the owners asked for it all so the players asked for it all back. It’s just a way to stay strong in negotiations. There will be plenty more meetings before the September 15th deadline. We just have to hope that after the owners analyze proposal they can work with it rather than flat out rejecting it as Bettman made it sound like they had at first glance.