NHLPA To Lay It All On The Line With New Proposal

The NHLPA has answered the call from the NHL and they will respond with a proposal that cites all areas that need to be addressed before a new CBA can be agreed upon.

On Monday we heard that the league had asked the player’s union for a full proposal, something they feel they haven’t received yet.  It appears that the negotiations will either have a true starting point or a definite breaking point, depending on where the players come in with their latest offer.

It’s expected that Donald Fehr will spend the better part of Tuesday with his posse, outlining their proposal and ensuring all areas are covered.  The two sides are said to be ready to meet on Wednesday according to TSN.ca and for the first time in over two months, we’ll know if a deal is actually possible.

This much we do know: there are three major stumbling blocks that are keeping the two sides miles apart from a new deal.  The first is how to share all hockey generated revenue.  The players currently own a 57-43 split and the owners have said they want it back to an even playing field at 50-50.  This is where the second hurdle comes in.  The players have said they’ll agree to that split providing the owners honor all previously signed contracts, meaning no roll backs for anything that was signed before September 15, 2012.  And finally, with the lockout into it’s third month and already over 300  regular season games cancelled, the two sides cannot agree on who should have to pay for the damages caused by the third work stoppage in the last twenty years.

TSN reports that anytime the players have made an offer to the league, it has only ever included one of the three major pillars.  The owners now want to see where the players stand on all issues and have it combined into one, what could be, final offer.

Elliote Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada and CBC Sports wrote a great piece on this proposal and said “what happens over the next 24-48 hours has huge ramifications for the NHL’s future.”  He could not be more right.

If the players come in with another proposal that the owners deem to be ridiculous, it’s hard to believe that the meeting will last much longer than an hour.  But Friedman hears the players are itching to play, but quickly notes they won’t concede to every demand the league has made.

This is now the second main stream media to report that the players are getting antsy and with three missed paychecks already gone, perhaps Fehrs decision to not agree with Bettman’s proposed two-week hiatus was directly from the players pressuring him to at least maintain open lines of communication.

Friedman summarizes the entire negotiation process in a well laid out manner.  He states the league is “trying to pin down Donald Fehr” while Fehr is simply using a stern negotiating tactic that only infuriates the opposition. He writes that Fehr and the players refuse to negotiate off the proposals that the owners and the league have brought forward, rather sticking to his counter offers as the only reasonable avenue.

So here we sit nearing the end of November and this next meeting is no doubt the most important one to saving a season.  If the players are getting itchy and want to play so badly and the owners realize the consequences of another lost season, then maybe they’ll make some head way with the talks on Wednesday.  If not, November 21 could be “D” day for the NHL.

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