NHL Labor Talks: LOWYCO
Dammit. Here we go.
We're 10 days from the expiration of the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) and we're still....well, if not an ocean apart, at least one of the Seven Seas. What the hell is the difference between an ocean and a sea anyway? Know what? That's pretty damn low on the list of things I give a shit about anyway. Let's move on.
Every year at the All-Star game, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman keeps telling everyone how swell things are. How the league is hauling in loot by the metric fuckload. There's all this Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) floating around.
Now that it's time for a new collective bargaining agreement, all of the sudden Gary turns his pockets inside out, and moths start flying out. Clearly, Bettman is full of shit. But is it when he says things are going well, or when he's crying poverty?
Let's examine...one team that has relied on their rich city cousins for revenue sharing is the Minnesota Wild. This summer they paid a combined $196 million for 13 years of a Captain who never won a Stanley Cup (Zach Parise) and a defenseman who has never been a Norris Trophy finalist (Ryan Suter). Suter's old team, the Nashville Predators, used their revenue sharing dough to match the offer sheet of 14 years and $110 million. The Phoenix Coyotes - well, they've been watching the rats jump off the sinking ship.
It's hard for the owners to have any credibility about not being able to turn a profit when they're throwing that kind of cheddar around. Still, when they gave their first proposal to the players, they wanted to cut the player's cut of HRR from 57% of the take down to 43%. I'm sure even an experienced cheddar stacker like Morph knew that would never fly.
The players' counterproposal basically stated that they'd be willing to take a smaller piece of the HRR pie if the owners were willing to broaden the revenue base by taking the HRR the players were willing to forfeit and subsidize the poorer teams.
If you're new to this whole hockey thing, this is where I tell you Donald Fehr is sitting on the NHLPA side of the table, and he's as big a barracuda as anyone the owners have. With the counterproposal above, he's done a nifty job of getting a wedge between the large and small market owners. If I'm Bettman, my biggest challenge is keeping everyone on the same sheet of music knowing the players are more willing to help the poorer teams than the big market teams are.
The owners have already offered to bump the players' cut up to 46%. At this point, the sides aren't talking.
Everyone who has been observing the talks from a better vantage point than a loser with a blog has been saying the final cut will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50/50. Once that's done, there's still realignment, the Sochi Olympics, what to do with the mess in Arizona, not to mention the actual length of the CBA itself.
Will the get it all done in 10 days? Not on your life. But there are 118 days until the Winter Classic...