With another NHL CBA meeting scheduled for Thursday in Toronto, there’s hope a resolution to the lockout may be near, but is that hope justified? 


NHL, NHLPA to meet today for more CBA talks.

TSN.CA: The NHL and NHLPA are schedule to meet at 1 pm ET in Toronto today for another CBA meeting, in which the PA is expected to make its response to the league’s recent CBA proposal (details of which the league posted to its website yesterday) and perhaps table a counter-offer. Bob McKenzie yesterday reported the PA leadership’s initial reaction to the league’s proposal wasn’t enthusiastic.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby with a list of reasons why the players aren’t enthused over the league’s latest offer. Among them, the “Make Whole” provision, and questions over definition of HRR.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle reports the league and the PA remain “at least $550 million apart”  in negotiations, and believes escrow would be the biggest stumbling block toward a new deal. Eric Duhatschek, meanwhile, believes the league negotiators uncertainty over how to deal with NHLPA director Donald Fehr may have been behind their latest proposal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem with the league’s proposal to “make whole” the players salaries over the next two years to compensate for the sharp impact of their reduction in the first two years is it would defer escrow payments to later in the agreement, meaning significantly increased escrow payments starting in the third year of the league’s proposal. I suspect the PA, in their counter-proposal (provided they make a serious one which works off the league’s latest, rather than another which works off the PA’s previous proposals) would prefer to phase in the reduction of the players share of HRR gradually, to lessen the escrow hit over time.

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos believes the league’s proposal, by increasing the eligibility for free agency by a year and shrinking entry-level contracts by a year, could help keep rebuilding teams (like the Edmonton Oilers) together.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It certainly couldn’t hurt.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun suggests the NHL season could depend upon the NHLPA’s response today to the league’s proposal.

SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange wonders if PA director Donald Fehr might find it tougher as this lockout goes on to maintain membership unity.

 USATODAY: Kevin Allen believes the players must now choose between principle and pay:

” If the season is lost, players lose $1.8 billion in salaries in one season over a fight totaling $1.6 billion over six years. Owners will lose about $1.5 billion based on the 57%-43% split in the last CBA.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In those two sentences, Allen has neatly encapsulated the choice facing the players in this lockout. While my sympathies are with the players, everyone knows the ultimate outcome of this lockout will see the players getting a smaller share of the league revenue than they did under the previous CBA. I’m not saying they have to take the league’s latest offer sight unseen, but it would be wise if they base their next proposal off of it. Seems to me the players will lose more, and much faster, if they stand on principle. We’ll find out, perhaps as early as this afternoon, what the players next move will be.