These negotiations come after the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic last week, shrinking optimism for the season. But not all is bad at the moment for the NHL.
If both sides can sit down and have serious negotiations about real issues then there is a good chance that a season will be played.
The NHL needs to approach the players with some different ideas because obviously the old ones lead to lockouts. They need to understand that the players are willing to fight for their rights to play in the NHL, and that they will not just take an unfair proposal.
The latest offered from the NHL was a 50/50 revenue sharing agreement that failed to honor current contracts. The players took note and rejected the offer on the grounds that it still wasn't fair enough.
The NHL also has to understand that a 50/50 revenue sharing CBA is still a seven-percent decrease in pay for the players. This when, for the most part, the NHL is showing record profits and high attendance to each game.
The players have said that they are only looking for both sides to concede something, and that the NHL is failing to do that in the latest offerings.
But a CBA agreement has to work on both sides. The NHLPA also has to come to the table with a different approach in order to get a season going. NHLPA chief Donald Fehr must be lenient in some areas while remaining tough in others.
Will the NHL season be saved?
The way it looks right now, on both sides, is that if the season were to be cancelled tomorrow it wouldn't affect either of them.
Fehr said that the players are fighting for the next six or seven years not just this season (via James O'Brien NBC Sports):
If this was a one-year agreement, that would make a lot of sense. But it’s not. It’s a five-or-six-or-seven-year agreement. Also, look at what’s on the table [from the owners], there’s a lot more that’s on the table in addition to just player share.
The NHLPA has to acknowledge that this may affect the way some owners approach the bargaining tables.
In the end, the only way a season will come about in all this mess is if both sides back away from their egos and work together.
Fighting aside, honor current contracts and keep the 50/50 split in revenue. When that is all said and done, the 2012-2013 season will be underway.
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