The details of what was discussed during the second day of lengthy NHL CBA talks, and what could be on the table in today’s negotiations.
TSN.CA/CANADIAN PRESS: The NHL and NHLPA concluded five hours of CBA negotiations yesterday in New York, with further discussions planned for today, and both sides privately acknowledging they’re engaged in “meaningful back-and-forth”. Revenue sharing and the “make whole” concept were the main topics yesterday, and will be on the table again today. If a new CBA is ratified, a source suggested it could take 10 days before a new season would begin. It’s believed “pockets” of owners and players are putting pressure on the negotiators to get a deal done.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it isn’t known if the “make whole” provision would cover the first two years of existing contracts or the entire length of those contracts. “The difference the first two years—before any pro-rating for this season—is approximately $211 Million, as per NHL figures”, reports Brooks, who also writes, “An immediate drop to 50-percent rather than a gradual decrease in the players’ share would leave a limited amount of cap space the next couple of years for players with expiring contracts. Approximately 250 contracts are due to expire next July 1.”The PA would prefer an gradual reduction to 50 percent.
Brooks also reported the NHL expressed willingness to negotiate those points, as well as (for the first time) amnesty buyouts. A source also claimed the league won’t insist on contract term lengths, but is committed to ending heavily front-loaded deals. “The NHL believes its proposed limit of year-to-year 5-percent variance within a contract would accomplish that objective”. The league does appear committed to reducing entry-level contracts by one year and increasing the eligibility for UFA status by one year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting insight from Brooks on what’s been discussed thus far. While the two sides aren’t speaking to the press before or after each negotiating session, info will continue to be leaked by both sides.
We know they’re working toward a 50-50 split, and the players want assurances they won’t be on the hook for any losses to their salaries under an immediate reduction of their revenue share to that amount. I think a gradual reduction may be the best way to go, but if the league is insistent on immediate, they’ll have to cover the players’ potential contract losses to make it happen. Interesting to see amnesty buyouts on the table for the first time in these CBA talks. Several teams would certainly be willing to make use of that provision. Not surprised the league might not be insistent on contract term reductions, but make no mistake, it will close that loophole on front-loaded contracts, one way or another. I don’t see cutting entry-level contracts by one year or raising the eligibility age for UFA status to be deal-breakers.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun believes the “make whole” provision will either achieve the much-hoped-for breakthrough in negotiations, or become the kiss of death to this round of talks. The ‘make whole’ provision was discussed yesterday before both sides wrapped their negotiations and met for internal meetings. A source from the players side also said revenue sharing would be on the table again today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. That is the key issue. If they can’t resolve that to mutual satisfaction, the talks will fall apart, as could hope for a season-saving deal.
OTTAWA SUN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Sources suggest that, despite the length of yesterday’s negotiations,there wasn’t much progress made. A league source suggested talks could continue for several days “unless they can get some real momentum”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lack of progress on those issues doesn’t necessarily mean the talks were, as one pundit suggested, a waste of time. These are complex issues, which could take longer than one day to resolve. The fact they’re still talking is a positive sign.
DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa believes keeping the current round of NHL CBA talks private is the best hope for a settlement.
NATIONAL POST: Molson Coors, a major NHL sponsor, has taken a financial hit because of the lockout, and will seek financial compensation from the league following the lockout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wonder how many other league sponsors are threatening to do that? And how much impact that could be having on the league to end this lockout?