Lockout Imminent As NHL And NHLPA Still Worlds Apart

Photo Courtest of LA King Kevin Westgarth (@KWesty19)


The NHL and NHLPA met Wednesday with new proposals to eachother in hopes of the 2012-2013 NHL season starting on time, however when the meetings concluded it appeared a lockout would be imminent. Some 300 NHL players met in New York to educate themselves on everything happening in negotiations and to voice their opinions to each other and the league. The NHLPA’s most recent offer to the NHL would see the owners saving roughly $900m over the course of the deal, and also spoke of better revenue sharing between large and small market teams through the league.

The offer was also extended to 5 years, from the original proposal of 4 years, and the percent of revenue the players receive would drop from 57% to 53.3% and see it reduced to  52.5, 52.0 and 52.3% over the following years. The NHL’s counter proposal started the share for the players at 49% and would see that number reduced to 47% over the 6 year agreement being offered. Let us also not forget that the league and it’s team owners are looking for an immediate roll back on player salaries on top of the reduced revenue sharing between owners and players.

If a lockout is announced as expected, players such as Evgeny Malkin have already stated they will play in the KHL and can be expected to be ready as early as Sunday. Players like Sidney Crosby are obviously a liability to any league that accepts them and it’s likely the team or player will need to seek heavy accidental insurance in case he is injured.

The NHL has been criticized by reporters, agents and players alike for the methods they have taken in negotiations, including limiting ownership representation at meetings. Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins and N. Murray Edwards of the Calgary Flames were both present today during meetings, while 300+ NHL players met on the opposing side. Boston, recently coming off of a Stanley Cup victory and an original six team is making considerable money each season, so a nice boost in the earnings must have it’s ownership salivating. The Flames however have made a series of large contract offers to underachieving players and must be looking for a bailout of sorts, something a salary roll back would help with.

It’s been speculated that the ownership present in meetings all share the same view, while others left out have gone as far as saying that they had no idea of some of the offers the NHL has proposed until after it happened. However NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated despite that, “nobody wants to make a deal, more than I do.”

Another issue would be revenue sharing between large market clubs and smaller market organizations, something the NHLPA has attempted to adress. The NHL seems to insist that this is just a “distraction” and had nothing to do with the current issues needing to be addressed, such as salary roll backs. In other words, owners can’t control their spending and once they dug themselves into a deep enough hole are looking for it to be magically reversed without them even receiving a slap on the wrist. NHLPA representative Donald Fehr responded today saying “Big market clubs must do their part, so far that’s not the case.”

For now a lockout is looking all but certain in the coming days, how long it lasts will be determined soon. But from the looks of things NHL fans, we’re in for a long and bumpy ride. NHL fans have taken to social media for information on the discussions, while NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly insists these are just uninformed ramblings, I assure you a lot of information can be found via social media. I have not attended any CBA meetings nor have I even been in New York, every bit of knowledge and information I gather to present information to you has been from social media and other outlets, it’s all just a matter of where you look.

One thing is for certain however, Bettman can’t seem to handle the fire and got out of the kitchen. On Wednesday Bettman’s twitter account had been deleted, and it’s predicted that fan outburst was the reason why.