NHL Lockout: Why Players Need to Concede More in Negotiations

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NHL Lockout: Why Players Need to Concede More in Negotiations
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Executive director of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr.

As the NHL and NHL Players Association resume negotiations, the NHL lockout continues to cut into the 2012-13 season. To make a significant step towards a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the players must concede to the owners.

Based on what took place in Tuesday’s meeting, it seems the NHLPA has taken steps in that direction.

 

 

Let’s face it—the owners have far more leverage in these negotiations than the players. If the players want to get back on the ice, they’ll need to meet the owners somewhere in the middle.

After a day of internal meetings on Monday, the two sides have reconvened and the NHLPA will present a formal proposal to the league.

Tuesday’s talks will be a good indication of exactly how willing the players association is when it comes to backing off some of their most unwavering demands.

The NHLPA sent out a memo outlining their proposal, indicating the two sides are $182 million apart—much closer than the almost $1 billion gap between them back in October.

Revenue sharing and the “make whole” provision have consistently been the two biggest factors splitting the NHL and the NHLPA. By meeting the owners halfway, the players have put themselves in a better position to reach a new CBA.

One of the most important concessions the players association made was moving away from a guaranteed payment amount and towards a percentage-based division of hockey related revenues (HRR).

 

 

Leveling with the owners on the proposal structure is a major concession for the players.

The players also moved towards the owners on contracting issues like the back-diving of contracts and the cap hit involved with larger minor league contracts.

Donald Fehr , the executive director of the NHLPA, believes his side has done more than its part to move towards the owners on major negotiating points. "We have moved far more than halfway," Fehr said. "It is about as good as we can do."

The NHLPA has done about all it can do at this point. The ball is in the owner’s court.

While conceding to the league is a necessity for formulating a new CBA before the entire season is lost, the owners must show reciprocity.

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Simply put, the owners have to concede on certain issues. Or at least show the willingness to negotiate.

The NHLPA has gone out of its way to try and make these negotiations move forward. If the owners don’t show a similar willingness to move towards deciding a new CBA, these talks will take a major step backwards.

 

Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sports Writing Intern. Stay up to date with him by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.


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