On Tuesday, the NHLPA presented the owners with their counter-proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Some of the details of the players' proposal include:
- The deal would be a three-year commitment with an option for a fourth year.
- No changes to the standard player contract. The owners had wanted contract limits and changes to restricted and unrestricted free agency.
- No changes to existing contracts, written under the previous CBA.
- The hard cap would remain, but there would be a luxury tax included to allow teams some level of flexibility.
- The players would agree to take a lower percentage of hockey related revenue (HRR) during the deal, cutting back from their current 57% to 54% for the first three years of the deal. This would be done to encourage revenue sharing of up to $250M per season.
- In the fourth year of the CBA, the players would have the option of jumping back to their current 57% of HRR.
- According to Fehr, the players could surrender as much as $465 million in revenue under the NHLPA's proposal assuming continued growth at an average rate. Fehr added that number could be as large as $800 million if the growth seen during the last two seasons continues .
Here's what the experts are saying:
The NHL is expected to respond to the proposal soon (as early as Wednesday). The Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc reports the NHLPA will hold regional meetings to discuss the proposal on Thursday and Friday in Chicago.
My response is intrigue.
With this deal, the players have effectively won the PR battle (perhaps even the war). As Edzo likes to say, the Players Association "takes a hit to make a play" with this proposal.
By accepting lower HRR, the players are now forcing Bettman to do his job: serve all of the owners. The focus of Fehr's comments, and this proposal, is squarely on leveling the playing field across the league so every team can compete financially.
As I pointed out on Monday, more than half of the NHL's teams lost money in 2010-11. If Bettman is serving the 18-20 owners that lost money as well as the 10 that survived/profited, there should theoretically be a 2-1 vote in favor of spreading the wealth around the league to help struggling franchises.
This was a savvy move by Fehr and a unified NHLPA. After a ridiculous initial offer by the owners, this is a strong move by the players to get the 2012-13 season started on time.
Now we wait for the league's response...