NHL Offers 50/50 Split to Player’s Association
After weeks of negotiations going nowhere, the NHL made a bold move that may finally end the lockout. Tuesday the league made an offer to the NHLPA that it may not be able to refuse; a 50/50 hockey-related revenue split and more importantly, (at least for the fans) a full 82-game season which would be begin on Nov. 2 and extend into June.
“(The offer) is not short, and there were some explanatory documents that we still have to wade through,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the media via ESPN.com. “So the process that we’re going to engage in now is to make sure we read it completely and fully, that we understand it…then obviously what we will do is discuss it internally with our own negotiating committee and executive board and then get back together with the NHL.”
Although Fehr didn’t state exactly when the players would respond to the offer, sources told ESPN that the NHLPA plans to meet with the league to discuss the proposal either Wednesday or Thursday. So if all goes well, pucks will hit the ice on Nov. 2 as long as the players accept the deal.
But should they accept it?
The expired collective bargaining agreement saw the players earning 57% as opposed to the new deal which gives them 50. This decrease would affect player’s current signed contracts and that is obviously a concern for players who were already counting on that money coming in. However, sources tell ESPN that the current proposal would allow deferred payments based on future growth, which would mitigate the players’ financial sacrifice during the first few years of what would be a six-year deal according to Fehr.
Teams would also get the perk of being allowed to go over the salary cap during the first year of the deal; for up to $70 million. There are certainly many incentives for the players and it seems that both sides want to get this thing done.
“We made a proposal, an offer, really that is our best shot at preserving an 82-game regular season and playoffs,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “This offer that we made obviously was contingent upon having an 82-game regular season.
Bettman may be saying all the right things to save face with the fans, who just want to see hockey, but he is making all the right plays and the current offer is the best the players have seen from the league thus far. On Sept. 13 the league offered 49% for the players and the NHLPA countered with 54.3% in year one and 52.3% in year five. So the players have to consider it somewhat of a win that they forced the league to go up 1%.
If and when the NHL does return, look for those first few games to play like preseason contests, since the teams missed the entire preseason due to the lockout. Wager with extreme caution during those first few games and know that the best teams won’t start to find their footing for a week or two. However, when they do look out for preseason favorites, the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are both 8/1 to take home the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup.