NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines (Crucial Day Edition) – December 6, 2012.

NHL owners and players will meet for a third day of CBA negotiations in New York City today, which could be crucial if the current lockout is to end.

TSN.CA: NHL players and owners meeting ended around 1 pm ET this morning with the two sides having exchanged proposals and intending to continue their negotiations later today. It’s believed the PA wishes to stage a conference call this morning with those members not in attendance before meeting with the owners around noon ET today. Details of the proposals are sketchy, but the league is believed to have offered a ten-year CBA (with an “opt-out clause” by year eight), have increased their “make whole” dollars from $211 million to $300 million ($250 million to players, $50 million to pension fund). The owners have agreed to maintain existing rules for unrestricted free agency and arbitration, but still wants a five year term limit on player contracts (though teams can re-sign their free agents to up to seven years) plus the five percent annual variance on salaries. It’s believed talks nearly broke down twice yesterday but cooler head prevailed.

Will NHL fans get their Christmas wish of a new NHL CBA?

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun believes the contract term limit remains a tough pill to swallow for the players, who may have hoped the owners would pull that at the 11th hour, but haven’t done so…yet. He also believes a significant divide over the term of the CBA still exists (players wanted a shorter deal). LeBrun suggests the fact this didn’t blow apart last night supports the belief both sides don’t want to leave New York without a deal. Scott Burnside, meanwhile, praises NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and (to a lesser degree) NHLPA director Donald Fehr for removing themselves from the negotiations (though they remain in contact with their respective sides) thus creating an environment for progress by moderates, as both men were lightning rods for criticism from each side.

 SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange considers the recent negotiations to be progress at last. He also cited sources claiming Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller briefly lost his temper yesterday during negotiations, which seemed to encourage more dialogue, though at one point Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs threatened to leave, until moderate owners like Ron Burkle of the Penguins and Jeff Vinik of the Lightning interceded and agreed to keep talks going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Today, in my opinion, will be the crucial day in this week’s negotiations in determining if we see a deal soon or negotiations break down. The puck is in the players’ end right now, and they’re still not pleased about term limits and the league’s unwillingness to honor existing contracts. Still, they’ve managed to get the league to significantly increase the “make whole” dollars, and to leave unrestricted free agency and arbitration alone, plus allow for a  longer term for re-signing free agents.

I understand why the players don’t want term limits on contracts, but as I’ve frequently pointed out, term limits only became an issue in the last CBA because teams were using them to legally circumvent the salary cap, and they benefit less than 10 percent of the NHLPA membership. The rank and file never see contracts longer than three years in length, and never will. It simply wouldn’t make sense for the players to risk derailing negotiations and jeopardize the season merely to gain a provision which only benefits the star players. The key point which troubles me, however, is lack of news on revenue sharing, which I believe could be the key issue down the road.

Hopefully, commons sense and cooler heads on both sides will continue to prevail. 

THE SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector on how tension and boredom among those covering the NHL and following it on Twitter gave rise to a new Twitter parody account: @NHLPodium.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of this morning, @NHLPodium has over 11, 600 followers.

VANCOUVER SUN: Cam Cole wonders if the liver-spotted hand of Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs was behind Monday’s report by WBZ-TV reporter Steve Burton’s claim a new NHL CBA could be in place this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If a new CBA is hammered out this week, those who initially scoffed at Burton will owe him an apology.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited a report by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming Bettman wants a new CBA in place by Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: True or not, it’s a real possibility at this point, though it now depends on how talks unfold later today. Cross your fingers, NHL fans!

TORONTO STAR: Damiex Cox reports the NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed on one key issue: funding the NHL’s Senior Player Benefit through 2013.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They should’ve agreed to this months ago. Better late than never, I guess.

BLOOMBERG.COM: A group of sports fans can now go forward with claims the NHL and MLB violated anti-trust laws in their control over TV and internet broadcast rights.

CANADA NEWSWIRE: One of the “Green Men” has written a book. No, the title isn’t “It’s not easy being green”.


  1. The owners have moved to the players ask in 3 things by the above reports but the players have not moved on anything yet.
    I suppose you could call that progress but the players will have to move on something or it will die.
    It is a little strange the players complain about lock outs,even tho we know they would have gone on strike anyway,but are the side that wants only a 5 yr contract where the owners want a much longer term.
    If the players only want 5 years then they are the ones that are saying they don’t mind doing this dance again sooner rather than later which makes little sense.
    Did get a chuckle out of Miller/Jacobs getting mad.
    Maybe Jacobs told Miller to shut up or he would bring Lucic to the next meeting.

  2. Haha @NHLPodium is funny, but whoever has the @commish_gary account is funnier.

  3. I heard so far today it’s not going well. But who cares there is more to life than hockey

  4. I don’t understand why the players care about the contract length stipulation for the reasons Spector noted and also because of the ages at which the contracts are signed. First, nobody at age 30 is going to get a 10 year deal if you can’t backload the contract. The main players getting these long contracts are younger players age 20 to about 26. But those are also the players who have been least likely to want to commit long term. How many times have we heard that a player wants their contract to end the year they become eligible for unrestricted free agency.

    One solution might be to not allow contracts to go past a certain age (let’s say 35). In essence, you can sign as long a contract as you want, as long as the contract doesn’t go past age 35. After age 35, the maximum is a 2 or 3 year contract.

    Another thing I’d like to see is for teams to get some relief for the cap hit of player that was bought-out, especially if they hire a new GM. It doesn’t seem right that a new GM can come in an have to deal with the previous GM’s mistake from 4 years ago. Franchises shouldn’t be punished that long for a mistake. Note that I’m only talking in terms of cap hit, not real dollars. I’m fine with the buy-out provisions in terms of real money paid to the player, but the cap hit should be re-worked.

    Teams also need to be able to transfer money against the cap in trades. If a bottom-feeder team that’s rebuilding can take some other team’s cap hit in return for a pick of player, then that’s a win for both sides. .

  5. Exactly… most of the players have contracts under 5 yrs…

    I would think the rank & file would vote for this CBA offer from the Owners.

    Throughout this process… the league has been the one to make concessions off their own offers.

    Really what have the players conceded? To go to 50-50 with strings attached?