Mixed responses to the NHL’s initial CBA proposal to the NHLPA, and a new “memorandum of understanding” between the NHL and KHL has reportedly been signed.



How will NHLPA respond to NHL’s first proposal.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks is very critical of the NHL’s initial new CBA offer to the NHLPA, pointing out it amounts to a 22 percent reduction of the players’ revenue share, rolling it back to where it was in 2002-03, while lowering the salary cap ceiling for next season to $52.5 million. Brooks accuses the league of wanting to roll the clock back to the 1960s, when the players were powerless and had no leverage, suggesting their extension of the entry level contract to five years combined with extending the UFA eligibility age would result in a form of a reserve clause tying a player to a team for ten years. He also believes anyone who considers this merely a first proposal by the league are “kidding themselves”.

“This is an immediate attempt to measure the willingness of the players to fight, to gauge their unity, to divide and conquer just the way the league succeeded the last time in busting a union undermined by enemies within”.

SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange marvels at what he considers the “split personality” of the team owners.

“By day they’re at the bargaining table asking for term limits on contracts and the elimination of signing bonuses and contracts with cap friendly salary structures. By night they’ve grown paws, are howling at the moon and stuffing money into the hockey socks of any player who smiles at them.”

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Mark Whicker didn’t consider the league’s offer a proposal but rather a “home invasion”, and scolds Commissioner Gary Bettman for “firing scuds” at NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater, however, characterizes the league’s proposal as a “teasing time” low-ball offer, which the players won’t accept. He cites a source claiming the players won’t go anywhere below 52 percent of their revenue.

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside believes no one should be surprised by the league’s proposal, but also claims “any suggestion that the players are either offended or surprised by such a proposal is specious”. He goes on to point out it’s only mid-July, and the current agreement doesn’t expire until mid-September, suggesting plenty of time exists for further negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Opinion regarding the seriousness of the league’s proposal seems to be mixed, but there’s unanimity among the punditry and blogosphere it’s one the PA won’t accept. For the record, I’m in the camp that Mr. Brooks believes are kidding themselves, though I have no doubt the league’s main issue is to force the players to accept a reduced share of hockey-related revenue. If the league actually sticks by this initial proposal and refuses to be flexible, then yes, I’ll agree with Brooks it’s a “declaration of war” on the PA. Otherwise, I share the opinion of Burnside and Dater.

I did read one reaction on Twitter that this proposal seems gauged to help small market teams and increase parity. Sorry, but that’s what the current CBA was supposed to do. This won’t help small market teams, but  merely kicks the can down the road  on their financial problems. Furthermore, a system which ensures a player spends his first ten seasons with one team turns parity into a parody. 

KHL.RU: The NHL and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) have reportedly agreed on a new “memorandum of understanding”, which essentially extends the previous one governing the signing of players, and restricting both sides from “poaching” players currently under contract.