NHL Rumors: Owners Could Feel Pressure to End NHL Lockout Quickly

By Mark Donatiello
Charles LeClaire – US PRESSWIRE

Gary Bettman and the NHL owners had momentum in recent NHL lockout negotiation efforts.  After delivering a 50/50 proposal in an attempt to “save the 2012-13 NHL season”, the NHLPA seemed greedy when they rejected a reasonable offer and countered with a trio of overly-complex CBA proposals of their own.  Bettman has since lost public support following  the decision to reject a legitimate NHLPA CBA proposal and the string of illogical comments that followed.

The NHLPA made a variety of concessions in their latest proposal.  The players moved to a 50/50 revenue split consistent with the demands of the NHL owners, and offered a resolution to NHL revenue disputes that is just 182 million dollars away from the NHL’s proposal.  Rumblings suggest that the NHL didn’t particularly care for the wording of the NHL’s 50/50 proposal, but it is Gary Bettman’s comments after the proposal was rejected that are perhaps most puzzling.

Gary Bettman suggested the NHL is losing nearly 20 million dollars every day the lockout continues, compared to the mere eight million dollars that players lose.  If that’s the case, the difference in the latest proposals of both sides would be covered by just ten days of an NHL season.  A day later, Bettman decided to cancel games through mid-December, sacrificing more revenue than is currently being contested in negotiations.  The NHL has elected to cancel games rather than playing hockey, and there’s no real explanation as to why.

With the NHLPA going public with their latest proposal and Gary Bettman’s financial numbers not adding up, the lockout has reached a new level of absurdity.  After turning away a 50/50 proposal that could resolve disputed revenues with just ten days of hockey, the NHL has ten days to make a proposal that ends the lockout before their stubbornness costs them the very money they’re arguing over.

My resolution to the NHL lockout is for the NHL to immediately counter with a proposal of their own.  By offering a 50/50 revenue split and using a number somewhere in the middle of the 182-million-dollar gap between the two sides, the NHLPA would be forced to accept a deal and the NHL lockout would end.  The NHL would then have the benefit of putting the CBA into their own words, while the players fend off the NHL’s attempt to crush their union completely.

With the NHLPA threatening to dissolve in order to pursue legal action, the NHL lockout is on the brink of season-sacrificing disaster.   If the NHL is willing to deny proposals that can be covered by a week of actually playing hockey, I imagine they’ll be willing to deny proposals that could salvage some type of season using the same logic.

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