Among today’s notable NHL morning headlines: NHL & NHLPA hold informal talk, PA Director Donald Fehr’s latest letter to the PA membership, Alexander Ovechkin once again critical of the NHL, and criticism of how Oilers owner Daryl Katz has handled negotiations with the city of Edmonton over a new arena.
NJ.COM: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Stephen Fehr spoke on Saturday but currently there aren’t any plans for formal CBA discussions between the league and the PA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Still, the two sides remain in contact, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this week or next they meet again formally for another round of talks.
ESPN.COM: posted a copy of PA director Donald Fehr’s letter to the players on Friday, breaking down the three proposals which were rejected by the league, claiming the league’s latest offer was “in essence, a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, subject to ‘tweaks only’”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “tweaks” could include incorporation of some of what the players seek. There’s been reports from pundits in the know citing league sources who claim the NHL is willing to be flexible as to how to address the players’ concern over increased escrow deductions if the 50-50 split is implemented immediately. That is the key, in my opinion, toward a resolution. Everyone knows this will end with a 50-50 split of HRR, and both sides have already tabled offers toward that split. Now, it’s a question of how they arrive at that figure.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks noted NHL commissioner Gary Bettman loves to cite the NFL and NBA within the context of the 50-50 split he seeks, pointing out those leagues honored the existing contracts of their players even as those players agreed to a smaller cut of revenue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fehr stated on Thursday the NHLPA would accept a 50-50 split at once, provided the league agreed to honor those existing contracts. If it is good enough for the NBA and NFL, why not the NHL?
TSN.CA: Alexander Ovechkin had some choice words for Bettman and the NHL’s latest offer:
“The NHL gave fans and media hope. But in reality it is a deception,” said Ovechkin. “The league is trying to show that it is working to try and save the season, but they are not offering anything new. It’s all the same.
“Owners and players are at war,” Ovechkin continued. “Bettman is under heavy pressure and trying to protect himself from criticism. Yes he made an offer and said it was good. But good for who, for Bettman?”
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi interviewed several labor experts, who see an end to the NHL lockout, based largely upon the fact both sides are now talking about a 50-50 split in revenue.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschek on how Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz let a new arena deal with the city of Edmonton slip through his fingers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put simply: Katz got greedy, seeking an extra $6 million per year in operating subsidies without providing adequate reason why he needed that revenue months after signing off on the original plan with the city council, a deal which was brokered in part by the league.
Don’t worry, Oilers fans, this won’t result in your team being moved. Katz will never make as much money anywhere else as he’s making in Edmonton, and the league won’t agree to relocating the team.
In my opinion, either Katz will realize his blunder and reach an agreement with the city council, or the city will find other investors and build the arena without him, thus putting Katz in a position where he could get a less favorable lease agreement than what he would’ve had otherwise.