Breaking Down NHLPA's CBA Proposal to NHL from Latest Labor Meeting
Twenty-three players, including Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos, were among the NHLPA group that presented the proposal to league commissioner Gary Bettman and several owners.
The two sides will meet again on Wednesday, when some more progress toward a new deal will hopefully be made.
Gary Bettman says he hopes NHL will be ready to respond to PA's proposal when they meet tomorrow morning.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 14, 2012
While Bettman wasn't willing to share the details of the players' proposal, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr did talk about some of details of the proposal when he spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon.
Here is the video of Fehr talking to the media.
Let's examine some key parts of the proposal made by the players.
The revenue sharing aspect of the proposal is very interesting. One of the best ways to ensure that these labor messes don't happen every five to seven years or so is to have a system that gives every team the best chance to be profitable. A revenue sharing system is one way to do this.
Fehr says revenue-sharing could reach $250 million per year.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 14, 2012
Fehr said players willing to reduce share of income because some franchises in trouble.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
Revenue sharing is a great way to positively affect the financial health of the struggling teams, but there's one stumbling block that could prevent a system from being created, which is the rich teams not wanting to pay lots of money to small-market teams.
Jeff Marek of Sportsnet.ca tweeted about this topic this afternoon.
Think TOR, PHI, MTL, NYR, BOS etc have an appetite to pay out a quarter of a billion dollars in rev share money annually?— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) August 14, 2012
We haven't seen the whole proposal yet, but Marek's question in the above tweet is an important one. It's hard to imagine some of the rich teams being willing to help the smaller market teams with revenue sharing.
Expect revenue sharing to be one of the most important parts of the labor negotiations going forward.
Salary Cap and Luxury Tax
Before Fehr spoke to the media, Renaud Lavoie of RDS reported that the NHLPA wasn't looking to eliminate the salary cap.
NHLPA won't ask the NHL to get rid of the salary cap system. Important step to make sure they'll be hockey at one point this season.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) August 14, 2012
We later learned, via Johnston, that a luxury tax is to be part of the NHLPA's proposal.
I'm told a luxury tax is part of the NHLPA's new proposal. Cap won't move much under the deal, but some teams can go above and others below— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 14, 2012
Other North American sports leagues that have a luxury tax include MLB and the NBA. The NBA is the only one that has a salary cap and a luxury tax system.
Many people feel that having a luxury tax would be a huge advantage for large-market teams, which is often the case in the NBA. Many large-market teams in the NBA go into the luxury tax each year because they can afford to, and as a result, they dominate the free-agent market and make it hard for small-market clubs to sign the big stars.
It will be interesting to see how the small-market owners react to the idea that the NHL could have a luxury tax. It could hurt the amount of parity in the NHL.
Under the current CBA, the NHL operates with a "hard cap," which means teams cannot go above the cap ceiling. There are no exceptions.
For more information on luxury tax, click here.
Players propose there be no changes to player contracts under existing rules.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
This is one part of the negotiations where a compromise could be reached. While it's absurd to have players wait 10 years until they can become a UFA, the length of contracts should be shortened because 10-year deals aren't good for the game.
Length of the Deal
The NHLPA proposed a three year deal with an option in the fourth year, per Shoalts.
Fehr said offer was after 3 yrs of working under their proposal an option to revert to current CBA in 4th year.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) August 14, 2012
It's tough to see this plan happening because Bettman has already said that the owners don't want to play another season under the current CBA.
The length proposed by the players is also pretty small. Both sides would be wise to create a system that can help the entire league for more than just three or four years.
Marek summed up what many feel this labor struggle could become with this tweet.
NHLPA proposal smartly crafted to position large market teams vs small market teams. Make this an internal owners fight.— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) August 14, 2012
Are you now more or less optimistic a deal will get done?
Unless the owners make a compromise on the key issues, an owners vs. owners battle isn't very encouraging for people who desperately want a deal done soon.
Hopefully, we will learn how the NHL feels about the NHLPA's proposal on Wednesday when the two sides are scheduled meet again.
In conclusion, the players did really well today. Their proposal was very well put together and lays a good foundation for the sport to continue its growth. However, there is still a lot of work to do before a new CBA is completed.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL lead blogger at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.
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