When the National Hockey League offered a 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue this past October, the collective heart of the hockey world skipped a beat.
“Is this it?” most asked, cautiously optimistic. I mean, commissioner Gary Bettman himself said the owners were tabling their best offer in an effort to finally get the season underway (so it must have been true).
The fundamental misunderstanding of the simple concept of negotiating aside, in which every subsequent offer is actually your best offer (if you’re doing it right, that is), even Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr at the time felt it was a step in the right direction…until of course he read it.
Counteroffers were made, then summarily rejected by the league, and both sides were left back at the drawing board in specific regard to a “make whole” concept that would enable players’ current contracts to be honored.
Now at the point where the two sides have been seemingly forced to discuss other issues in order to make any sort of progress, such hot-button topics as securing single-player rooms while on the road earlier in one’s career have begun to creep up. Seriously.
So, just to get this straight, you’ve dug this ditch in this war of attrition with the enemy, you’re pinned down side by side with essentially your brothers in arms, taking fire from all angles, with the only comfort in the world you’ve got being that they’ve got your back even if a grenade were to drop at your feet and one line in the sand you’ve decided to draw is the need for a provision to get away from them sooner to get the remote control to yourself???
As a not-so-friendly suggestion to both sides, here are five key-er issues (that have either already been brought up and not) that should be taking center stage in lieu of hockey-related revenue in order to get negotiations moving again.