As we close in on the end of the 2012 year, hockey fans around the world are reminded daily of what they are missing.
With the NHL Lockout now in the hundreds of days long, the NHL has reached out yet again to the players, making more concessions in an attempt to have an NHL season. This time it's only going to be roughly 48 games long.
The World Junior Hockey Championship is in full swing, featuring many NHLers on some squads. Young stars such as Mark Scheifele, Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dougie Hamilton all of Canada, Nail Yakupov, and Mikhail Grigorenko of Russia and Alex Galchenyuk of the United States all make up a pretty outstanding player pool in the tournament.
The Spengler Cup, a tournament that sees host team HC Davos, along with a collection of Canadian players, take on four club teams from around Europe is also underway in Davos, Switzerland. Each club team boasts a beefed up roster as a result of the NHL Lockout. The Canadian squad, for example, features all-stars Jason Spezza and John Tavares, as well as Tyler Seguin, Matt Duchene, Ryan Smyth, Jason Demers, Cam Barker, Jonathan Bernier and Devyn Dubnyk, who make up a relatively outstanding Canadian team.
Lastly, in the American Hockey League, many squads are on so-called "steroids" as a result of this lockout. Teams such as the Oklahoma City Barons, who boast players like Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, could conceivably beat some NHL clubs.
Needless to say, with all the NHL talent scattered across the globe, the time is now for all of them to reconvene and come together to get a deal done.
The NHL made yet another offer according to reports to the players' association, one in which the owners make more concessions in hopes to get a season done. This offer is one which moved on term limit for player contracts, salary variance and buyouts.
NHL offer calls for term limit on player contracts to be six years (7 if you're re-signing your own guys).— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012
New offer sees each team afforded one compliance buyout prior to 2013-14 season. Doesn'tcount vs. cap but it does vs. players' share— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012
Also the Make Whole $$$$ stays at $300 million— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012
Player says new league offer still calls for salary cap to be $60 M for 2013-14 season, which could be an issue (escrow).— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012
Also worth noting, the NHL has raised its stance on contract variance from five percent to 10 percent, and the big one here, they have allowed an NHL team to use a one-time buy out, or as some would call a contract mulligan, in an attempt to get a deal done. This buy out is very similar to the Amnesty Clause the NBA has put forth with moderate success.
As we await word from the Player' Association on the latest offer, I just can't help but shake my head at the NHL.
I've had my issues with Donald Fehr and the players, but this time I have a little beef with the owners and Gary Bettman yet again.
This deal, which is supposedly on par with or possibly even better than the previous deal put forth by the NHL, sees the NHL make numerous concessions and attempts at getting NHL Hockey back on the ice.
I look at this offer though and shake my head, because it's only the NHL right now making an attempt at new offers, ones that make concessions and points of interest when negotiating. They are actually shooting themselves in the foot here because we've heard countless times from Bettman and Bill Daly that this will be the best offer we put forth, and if you don't accept it by this date, it's off the table.
Off the table? After this latest offer, its clear that Donald Fehr still has the owners shaking in their boots, because Fehr has always had the belief that while the NHL offers have some merit, they can still give a little more in a number of areas.
Fehr, a master negotiator according to some experts, really does have the NHL owners on high alert still.
The NHL needs to realize that with every new offer they make to the players in which they make more concessions, they only are hurting themselves in the long run and fueling the monster known as Donald Fehr even more. If he was smart, he'd wait until the last possible day to get a deal done to save an NHL season and get the most out of the NHL, because apparently they are willing to make more and more concessions.
I believe the offer is a giant step forward; however, me being a pessimist, I think Fehr and company will likely turn down the offer and make a counter proposal which will put the NHL and its players two steps back.
The time is now for the Players' Association to accept a deal and for some to put their massive egos aside and get a deal done for the betterment of the game.