With yet another lockout looming in Gary Bettman's tenure, there is no wonder why he gets booed incessantly at any hockey event he attends. Fact of the matter is, the fans are just plain tired of greed on the part of the owners.
As fans see it, the owners pay the players' salary, but it's the players who bring in all the money, the endorsements, jersey sales and other merchandise and most of all, the paying public.
Unfortunately, how the world goes around is a different story. The world is dominated by the wealthy preying on the poor or the filthy rich preying on the wealthy, which is the case of the NHL.
With proposals and counter proposals being made hand over fist lately in NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) meetings, there has been some positive growth lately, but not enough to warrant optimism in the short-term.
A major sticking point now is apparently the fourth year in Gary Bettman's proposal to the players. The players want a snap-back to 57 percent of the NHL-created revenues. Meanwhile, Bettman thinks that number is just not realistic or acceptable.
In the original deal, the NHL offered only a 43 percent initial cut of revenues to the players, but since that was rejected, it upped the offer to over 46 percent, which as far as I've heard, has not been rejected, as the fourth year of the NHL offer is the sticking point.
I'm not going to go into the major specifics of the NHL CBA, but rather focus on one issue: the revenue-sharing numbers.
My proposal is simple—start the players out at 43 percent of the cut from revenues. This way, the NHL gets the majority of the cash coming back, but it can also accurately gauge how this threat of a lockout may have hurt the league financially.
The salary cap is lowered to $64 million for this upcoming season, with growth every year after, given the state of the NHL.
Here's the part of the deal that makes the most sense: We will begin with the gradual 1.25 percent increase in revenue sharing over the next four years, starting at 50 percent. At the end of the fifth year, the NHLPA will be getting a 54 percent cut. In the final year, the NHLPA will see a 55 percent revenue-sharing number.
In the end, if the first three years are fine according to the NHLPA, why not sign a three-year new CBA and discuss an extension of the CBA (not a completely new CBA), while the three seasons progress? What I mean is build upon the new CBA that was signed and work towards something that both sides can agree on and then sign a six- to 10-year extension.
What happens with these deadlines is that you get rushed proposals, and loopholes happen because of two sides waiting until the bitter end to come to some sort of agreement. Both sides rush, miss things and, as a result, loopholes are created.
Wade Redden being sent down and his contract being absolved from the Rangers' cap is a pretty good example of what a rushed CBA could create—the AHL contract loophole.
Whether or not a new CBA is signed come September 15th, I can guarantee all of you that the NHL doesn't need a completely revamped CBA. It basically needs to eliminate loopholes and work towards a new revenue sharing structure.
When that happens, I sincerely hope that the NHL will never have a lockout again in my lifetime.
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