SBD/August 14, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHLPA Presenting CBA Counterproposal; Likely To Include Increased Revenue Sharing

Fehr said the NHLPA's proposal will be an "alternate view" of the league's first offer
The NHLPA will make a CBA proposal to the league's owners today in a meeting in Toronto. It is expected that it will not be a direct response to the NHL's proposal of a month ago, which called for major cuts in the players' share of revenues. Instead, the proposal will include ideas on increased revenue sharing among the league's thirty teams. It also may propose the elimination of the salary cap. NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr told reporters yesterday afternoon that the proposal will be an "alternate view" of the league's first offer. "Some people interpret a counter proposal to be, 'This is within the framework of what the other guy said.' It just moves some things around," Fehr said. "This is a different kind of an approach. It's how the players see the world." A large contingent of players, including Penguins C Sidney Crosby, Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin and Lightning C Steven Stamkos, are expected to attend today's meeting, which began at 11:00am ET. Despite the rancor, Fehr said he was keeping an open mind heading into today's meeting. "All things in this world at this stage of this negotiation are possible," he said (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).

PLAYERS TAKE THEIR SHOT: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes what will be presented to the owners today in Toronto "will be ways they can share a much greater portion of the $3.3-billion in revenue the league pulled in during the 2011-12 season so the poorest teams can finally worry more about making the playoffs than making their mortgage payments." But this "does not mean any serious bargaining on a new agreement to replace the one that expires Sept. 15 is under way." It just means "each side has finally stated its philosophy about a solution." Shoalts: "Do not be surprised if it shows Fehr's remark last week of a 'meaningful gulf' sounds optimistic" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/14). In Montreal, Mike Boone notes Fehr will "make the case that the NHL's fundamental problem is the revenue disparity between the league's haves and have-nots." If franchises in "non-traditional hockey markets are to survive ... the only solution is meaningful revenue-sharing between the rich and poor clubs." The NHL "wants redistribution of wealth -- effected on the backs of its players." The players "are about to put the puck on [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman's side of centre ice." Boone: "I fear he's going to rag it till Sept. 15 -- and beyond" (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/14).

WORKING ON DEADLINE: The CP's Chris Johnston wrote time is "beginning to run short," and Bettman "added even more urgency to the talks when he said last week that the players will be locked out if that date passes without a new agreement." It was a comment that "resonated strongly with the players -- many of whom took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with it." Fehr said, "The tone (of negotiations), in a sense, I suppose is a little different given that backdrop and the starkness from which it was delivered" (CP, 8/13). The CP noted Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper is "hoping there won't be a work stoppage" in the NHL this fall. But Harper said, "The one positive thing that a strike does is draw attention to the other high-calibre hockey that is played in this country and around the world. I don't think I have to tell you as a hockey fan, I certainly hope along with everybody else there will not be a strike or a lockout" (CP, 8/13).
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