The NHL and NHLPA met on Tuesday. To the surprise of no one, little progress was made. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that no further talks are planned, but that the sides will remain in contact.
So now the hockey world continues to wait for the formal postponement or cancellation of regular-season games.
Daly said he didn't expect it would come today, according to Tom Gulitti, saying, "we'll make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time."
But Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal sounded an ominous note about game cancellations:
"I expect NHL to cancel games in the next 24 hours. Contrary to some reports, league might not go easy."
[Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Last chance for NHL, NHLPA to strike best deal for both sides]
The regular-season schedule was set to begin on Oct. 11, with 125 games scheduled for the month. The League cancelled its preseason schedule, something Daly said cost the NHL $100 million.
Daly continues to say the NHLPA needs to move closer to what the NHL is asking for in the next CBA. The NHLPA continues to say it's already made concessions.
It's a stalemate that needs a resolution.
There is no reason the NHLPA cannot make the next proposal, though. While the players' proposal projects they would receive much less than 57 percent of HRR going forward, that assumes the business will keep growing — and at a healthy rate. Once regular-season games are canceled, no matter whom you blame, the business will start shrinking, at least in the short term. The players made $1.87 billion in salary last season and want raises of 2 percent, 4 percent and 6 percent the next three seasons, compounded, guaranteed. How will they be able to get that next week, let alone next month, let alone next year? Why has that become a sacred line in the sand?
One last time: No immediate pay cut for the players, but no raise, either. Freeze their $1.87-billion salary from last season. Pay the contracts that have already been signed as they were supposedly intended, by capping escrow, by deferring some payments, whatever. Scale the players' percentage of HRR to about 50 percent over time. Outlaw front-loaded contracts that circumvent the salary cap, maybe make some other minor adjustments, but otherwise leave the contracting rules alone. Increase revenue sharing more than the owners want, but not as much as the players want. Drop the puck.
Could that get it done?
We've heard from a few sources that opening year under last year's salary levels might be a part of the next NHL offer. In which case things get really interesting for the NHLPA, which has been selling a "we'd play under last year's CBA" line since the start of talks.
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