For those whose experiences with ice hockey are limited to ducks flying together then it’s more than likely you’re unaware of the palaver going on in the NHL right now.
In a nutshell, we are now on day 41 of the 2012 lockout, which has come about following disputes between the players and the owners following the expiration of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) which defines the ground rules for all things revenue, salary and contractual between the two parties. All members of the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) are facing a lockout from the league until an agreement can be reached.
With the expiration of the CBA, the owners put to the table a few revisions, the most contentious being:
Decrease the players’ stake of HRR (hockey-related revenues) from 57 percent to 46 percent.
Set a maximum term of five years on all new players’ contracts.
Remove signing bonuses and set a uniform salary for each year of a contract, thus preventing “front-loading” of contracts.
…shocked either party…
The disheartening thing is that after the owners came out with this proposal on the 13th July, over three months have passed and not even the approach, and subsequent passing, of the pre-season or regular season scheduled starts seemed to have shocked either party into sorting the matter, with the most recent counter (three proposals from the NHLPA last Thursday) rejected by the NHL. Cap that off with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a veteran in the minefield that is negotiating with this being his fourth lockout in his 19 years as commissioner, saying they were not even close and “it’s clear that we’re not even speaking the same language”. That’s a pretty major statement coming from someone who should be well weathered in producing solutions to stalemates of this nature.
Players in the league have put a fairly large exclamation mark to Bettman’s statement with many opting to play their seasons out in the American and European leagues, or the alternative North American leagues. Fans are beyond ticked off as this debacle continues, and even if it were to end tomorrow, I’d be rather resistant putting on my team colours and waving the flag for a bunch of people who seem to have completely disregarded them in what I’ll loosely coin as the “negotiation process”.
…bickering about revenue percentages…
The most apparent option at this stage which would address the two major concerns would be a soft cap to deal with the salary issues and to split the HRR smack bang down the middle. But until both sides stop playing this like tug of war and realise that neither of them is going to escape without a little mud on them, this isn’t going to happen. All this bickering about revenue percentages is somewhat redundant if you’ve got no people walking through the gates. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out what a 50/50 split of zero is.