After the NHL cancelled the 2013 Winter Classic on Friday, it was nice to hear some good NHL news. That news was the fact that the NHL’s Bill Daly and the NHLPA’s Steve Fehr spent a great deal of time together on Saturday going over some of the issues that are preventing a new collective bargaining agreement from being signed.
According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, progress was made on a number of issues.
Make Whole Provision
In the NHL’s original October 16 proposal, the provision to ensure all current contracts would be paid in full was a make whole provision in name only. The fact that the NHL placed “made whole” in quotes was a dead giveaway that something was fishy.
It seems as if the NHL is now willing to truly make the current contracts whole. If true, this is a huge deal, as the NHLPA made it clear that not receiving the full worth of current contracts was a deal-breaker and rightly so.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this, but until we get to see the full offer, we don’t know if there is some “gotcha” language hidden inside the make whole provision.
Salary Cap Inflation
The October 16 offer from the NHL put the salary cap at $59.9 million with a floor of $43.9 million. This would be a significant drop from the $64.3 million the cap was placed at for the 2012 season and an even bigger drop from the $70.3 million the cap teams were told they could spend up to over the summer.
The worry was that some teams would need to trade or release players in order to get under that number. In order to avoid those moves, the NHL has agreed to artificially inflate the cap in Year 1 of the new CBA.
The current disciplinary process has NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan meting out suspensions. If the player and the NHLPA disagree with the suspension, the man that judges if the suspension is just is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The NHLPA doesn’t exactly consider this process fair and the NHL has agreed to introduce neutral third-party arbitration, something that will appeal to the NHLPA.
As of now, the majority of NHL players are forced to share a room when they travel. They are not given single rooms until they have been in the league for a total of 600 games.
The NHL will look at allowing all players single rooms when they are on the road. This may not seem like a big deal, but the cost would be huge to the NHL if it did allow all players single rooms.
This would be a big deal for both sides.
The most promising thing to come out of this is the fact that both sides have agreed to meet for further talks this week. It’s unfortunate that it took the cancellation of the NHL’s marquee event to get the two sides talking, but the important part is that they are talking.
Here’s hoping that these talks lead to a new deal being struck and a partial NHL season in 2013.