Today’s news about no agreement was met with a lot of doom and gloom. NHLPA came out with their 3 counterproposals which were all met with a “thumbs down” from the NHL owners and the stalemate is back on. What I’ve seen over the last couple of days is good progress. The 50/50 number was a big step and one, both sides had to agree on. The next step is to define what “hockey related revenue” is and dissect that pie evenly. This is where the negotiations become tricky and things will become heated. Essentially, the players want a bigger pie to be cooked up while the owners want to bake a mundane, no frills pie and keep the trimmings for themselves. Concessions will have to be made on both sides and looking toward what’s fair is the thing that will keep negotiations ongoing.
What’s needed now more than anything is a concept of being “fair”. Both sides need to continue to work in good faith while the negotiations are ongoing. As soon as one side feels it is starting to feel “ripped off”, that’s when the entire hockey season starts to become in serious jeopardy. There are things they can build off of from the recent round of negotiations, it would be a shame to see them die off at this point.
Going forward, it would be best if the media battle was left quiet for the next week or so. Squabbling through media and social media outlets is not going to get this deal any closer to be done. Quiet is better in my view. As long as proposals and counterproposals keep being put out, I would consider that progress. There is a lot of piecutting that will need to occur before a deal is in place. Patience is needed from the fanbase from this moment on. Both sides are doing their best for each side and since the “lowball” offer from the owners from the outset of the negotiations, things have been fairly amicable, at least as amicable as it can be for board room negotiations. Negotiations, I feel, are going well, but it wouldn’t take much for that to come off the track in a hurry. The biggest thing going forward is for Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to keep their egos in check and think about the greater good of the game.