NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2012.

The NHL tables its opening CBA proposal to the NHLPA,  the top remaining players in the UFA market, Dominik Hasek’s agent confident he’ll play in NHL this season, and more.

TSN.CA: The NHL tabled its opening offer to the NHLPA on Friday night, which includes a reduction in player revenue from 57 to 46 percent, players would wait ten years to become unrestricted free agents, contracts would be limited to five years, entry level contract would increase from three to five years, the elimination of salary arbitration and signing bonuses, and all future contracts would carry equal value for each year of the contract.

NHLPA director Fehr no fan of salary rollbacks.

TORONTO SUN: NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is no fan of salary rollbacks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have my detailed take on this proposal from the league later today in my “Soapbox” section. In the meantime, the league was obviously trying to employ an old PR trick of releasing bad news late on a Friday in hopes of dampening the immediate negative reaction, but they forgot about social media, the blogosphere, and the fact the MSM is far more internet-savvy than it was eight years ago. This release lit up the Twittersphere last night, and several pundits and bloggers are already all over it, with the response overwhelming negative to the league’s proposal.

What must be remembered, however, is this is an initial offer, and unless the league refuses to budge from it in the coming months, future proposals could look considerably different.What the league will stubbornly stick with, however, is the reduction of the players share of revenue, and while that rollback figure could become closer to a 50/50 split, the NHL’s negotiating team is unlikely to back away from a reduction. If they dig in their heels on this, the start of the season could be delayed.

The PA will make its counter-offer, likely sometime this week, and from that, the jockeying between the two sides  will truly begin.

As TSN’s Bob McKenzie wisely noted on Twitter, it’s only July 14th, and there’s still two months to go until the current CBA expires. In other words, there’s still plenty of time for a new deal to be hammered out, so let’s not succumb right away to the automatic assumption another lockout is coming.

USATODAY.COM: Kevin Allen lists the top remaining players in the NHL free agent market. Looking at it, you can understand why there’s been so few notable signings in recent days, though Kyle Wellwood can come off the list, as he signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

MLIVE.COM: Dominik Hasek’s agent firmly believes his client will make a return to the NHL this season. Given the lack of quality goalies remaining in the UFA and trade markets, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team gave him a training camp tryout, but I still doubt he’ll secure a job.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed defenseman Philip Larsen to a two-year deal, and there’s nothing new to report on contract talks with RFA Jamie Benn.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Phoenix Coyotes signed former Minnesota Wild right wing Nick Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils goon Cam Janssen apologized yesterday for homophobic remarks made during a recent interview.


  1. Even though contract length is a smaller issue as compared to the revenue split, a creative solution is possible, if the desire is there by both sides.

    Here’s an idea that would possibly make sense. Contracts can continue to be offered for any length, however, any years covering players past their 35th birthday be considered for cap purposes similar to contracts in the current CBA for multi-year signings for players of 35 years old and older.

    What would this do? It would probably mean that owners will only offer long term deals for players to the age of 35, at a annual salary higher than at present. This eliminates the ridiculously low salary for the final 3 or 4 years of a 10 or 13 year contract to lower the cap hit.

    At the same time, if an owner chooses to continue this practice, even injury or retirement would not eliminate the cap hit once the player turns 35. A clause could be included that should a player retire, suffer a career ending injury, or sent to the minors, at a younger age, the cap hit for the years leading to 35 would not count, but any years for that player after 35 would.

    This solution would alleviate the Brian Burke “bogus years” argument and would offer real options for both team and player while having a salary cap hit that is more reflective of the marketplace.

  2. I like the idea of EL contracts being 5 years. Hate the idea of eliminating arbitration. Have players eligible after their 5-year EL contract expires.

    I also like the idea of limiting the term of contracts, making all years for the same amount, and limiting bonuses.

    I hate the ideas of huge give backs on the income split, how the divisible income is defined, and how the cap is calculated.

    I also hate Gary Betman, but then who doesn’t, other the owners.

  3. Rather than setting a max amount of years with fixed amount – you could have the caphit at current years income. So 11$m for 3 yrs and 5$m for 3 yrs would be a caphit on 11 for 3 and 5 for the next 3.

    • the contract length should be left up to the owners, if they choose to continue to screw their own team should that not be their own choice? I just believe if they give out ten years at 100 million it should be 10 million per for the length… seems easy! doesnt it?

  4. A perfectly expected absurd proposal to begin with. The other sides counter will be equally absurd. The bargaining game these days(and not just in sports mind you) is to start as far away as possible from each other so both sides can make claim to the concessions they are willing to give in to in order to stick to the true parts they do not want to back off of as the negotiations proceed.

  5. I agree Flying V, what does the process of starting with a crappy proposal do ? It gets everyone ticked off. The NHLPA will respond with a ludacris proposal in their favor. Cut the BS save months and give us your bottom line where you may negotiate not far from. We will get there eventually so why not do it now ?

  6. 1)Yes, its absurd for a variety of reasons BUT it doesn’t matter. The owners have ALL the leverage. They know the players won’t sit out a season. They caved last time and they will cave (eventually) again, The owners know this.
    2) Hell, I’m surprised they didn’t ask to eliminate guaranteed contracts. The final proposal will be slightly less than this, but eventually the owners will get whatever they really want. They always have, and always will. Only unknown is how much of the season will be lost before the players give in.

    34) Get ready for a NHLPA rebuffing and posturing etc. We’re certain like last time they will correctly point out that its revenue sharing that needs to be changed. That the low income franchises need to either be moved or aided by large income teams. All this will be mute. The NHL will get its way folks. They already know what numbers they will accept. They have ALL the cards. As foot ball and basketball fans and players found out; Billionaires can always beat millionaires

  7. Simple solution to the cap issue is whatever you pay a player for that season is their cap hit. I see the players getting 52% of revenue in the end. Love 5 year Entry level contracts. Salary arbitration will stay. Free agency will likely be 8 years.

    Like other have said. Its all the intial lowball offer and it will balance out.

    Hasek will have to be amazing to get an NHL job at this age

  8. I just wonder this time around if all the owners will stay as unified as they did during the last CBA negotiation? I could very well see big market owners getting tired of the whining from smaller market owners.

  9. I was hoping that the owners would take a stand along these lines. I know that most hockey fans are worried that a hard line like this will end up in another work stoppage, and that might end up being the case. I just want the system fixed to a point where everyone, including the fans, are treated fairly.

    How does this do that?

    I am a firm believer that every single business owner in the world, every single one, is entitled to the majority of the profit the business makes, as long as the employees are treated fairly (that is a federal law). The owner has taken the risks, if the business fails, the employees can move on and the owner suffers the burden. As a career soldier, I have spent my life living, and working all over the world, in some of the harshest climates there are, for up to a year at a time. That’s a whole year of not seeing my wife, or family, no weekends or holidays, and with a bunch of people trying to make my life miserable constantly. Yet I always felt I was compensated fairly (I might have bitched a bit now and then). I find it very difficult to sympathize with players who say they aren’t being treated fairly. And don’t whine to me about travelling business class or charter (ride on a pallet in the back of a freezing C-130 for 12 hours). Don’t whine about separation from families, there are thousands of boys in Afghanistan a lot farther from their families not complaining for $40 grand a year, not $2.4 million. And the last argument, that really ticks me off, that their careers are short and they need to maximize their income…are you kidding me. Who, today has job security? Who has the ability to work 10 years and then be in a position to make sure their grandchildren never have to work. I have spent 23 years in uniform, and when I am done, I will be looking for work…..that’s life. Deal with it and stop looking for sympathy. Every player thought the last CBA would destroy them financially including the rollback, but look at salaries now. Even with the NHL lowering revenue sharing, if you allow for the same NHL growth as the last five years, the players will once again be making more money, so how are they losing????

    I think the 10 years before UFA is a bargaining ploy, I think the NHL will settle for longer than the 7 now, but will have some flexibility in this one, same as the ELC, though I do have a hard time accepting that some 1st year players make more money than a 7 year vet. Yes there is rewarding skill, but as with any job environment, there is also a reward for tenure and experience.

    I am a huge huge huge fan of the idea of term limits and bonus restrictions. I don’t think a lot of fans realize that this will actually create more excitement and movement. With bonus restrictions all teams will be able to bid for players, and with term limits, players will be on the market more often and teams would able to get rid of their mistakes (Horcoff, Dipietro etc) sooner. Also with the level playing field, much more trade action…..and lastly NO MORE of those idiotic 12 year contracts…..thankfully.

    As far as a work stoppage, it might happen, hopefully not, but if it does, just like last time, and the time before, and the time before, despite all the hyperbole, Joe (Oiler, Jet, Leaf, etc) fan will bitch and complain and threaten and be right there when the season opens. They will buy the shirts and watch the games as they always have, so give the empty and idle threats a rest, they are falling on deaf ears.

  10. Yup, what The Flying V said. Going through the same thing at work right now.. both sides will come with over the top proposals.. and you just end up in the middle somewhere.

  11. I was firmly on the side of the owners during the last CBA, but I’m on the player’s side this time around. The NHL has proven itself to be a money making machine. They’ve had record revenue every year since the lockout and the cap has skyrocketed to the point where the new floor is higher than the old ceiling.

    As fauxrumors said, the true problem here is the broken revenue sharing. I’ve heard that as many as 16 out of the 30 teams operate in the red, but the league as a whole still brings in truckloads of money, hence the soaring cap. It’s a proven fact that the rich teams can afford to support the poor teams and still turn a profit.

    The players already accepted rollbacks last time around and gave the owners their cost certainty by tying the cap to the revenue. If 16 out of 30 franchises lose money, then that’s on the owners to sort out amongst themselves. I don’t see what it has to do with the players.

  12. I don’t like guaranteed contracts or no trade clauses.That being said I believe the player has a right to get as much for as long as he can.This is a dangerous sport,look at the number of quality players who have had to retire over the last decade due to concussions etc.I also don’t like the cap,big market teams can circumvent it and small market teams get hamsstrung by it.The owners and players piece of the revenue should be 50/50 however they construe it to be.Without one the other does not exist period.I also do not like long term contracts cap the term not the amount.Five years tops.There are too many teams,with the KHL and all the other pro leagues there are too many teams with too many non legit hockey players making up the bottom of the roster.Bettman’s greed has led to this too many franchise’s are barely making it and it drags down the whole process.Twenty four teams tops.UFA after 4 years.

  13. The NHL shoots for the moon, and will be happy with orbit. They will find a deal that incorporates some of those items above, but not all.
    I think they net out at:
    -limiting contracts to 7 years
    -no signing bonuses
    -even salary ove rthe duration of the contract; no front loading
    -50% revenue split. I don’t see the players acepting 46% when revenues have been on such a rise.