- Kevin Allen of the USA Today: Today’s meeting will likely include Bill Daly, Gary Bettman, and a small number of owners. Some players are expected to join Don and Steve Fehr. The two sides are a long way from a deal. Where each side sits on two main issues.Dividing HRR 50-50: The players are willing to accept a 50-50 if the owners honor all existing contracts. They want to make sure that players won’t have to give all of it back in escrow. The players want $1.883 billion each year, compounded with 1.75 percent each year. Revenues are expected to be reduced by at least $350-$400 million. The owners say the players proposal gives them a raise in year one, and never really goes much below 52 percent. The owners offered $211 million in deferred payment as part of ‘make whole.’ They expect that in the 3rd year of the CBA, revenue will be back to where it was last year.
Changes in contracting rights: The owners are looking for two year entry level deals, changing arbitration rights, UFA for eight seasons or 28 years old, capping term to five years, and only allowing 5% salary variance from year to year. The owners feel they would be paying players when they are in their prime, rather than when they are on the rise. They are trying to eliminate front loaded contracts. The old CBA allowed players to get big deals after their entry level contracts expired. Also, they think it creates a strong “middle class.” The NHLPA feel that the NHL are non-negotiable on contracting rights.
- Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press: Gary Bettman did a 30 minute interview yesterday morning. (There are lots of quotes, but I’ll only post a couple.)
“There seems to be a fundamental disagreement on many of the core issues. We have proposed a 50-50 split of HRR (hockey-related revenue) which has not been agreed to. We have raised issues with respect to how the system works and the adjustments we think need to be made, and there doesn’t seem to be agreement or even a willingness to agree on them.”
On the players giving to get to 50-50, why give more?
“Twofold. One, we want to make sure the system works well and continues to work well. There are certain trends and issues that have arisen that we believe need to be adjusted in order for us to have the competitive balance that we want and need to enable us to continue to grow the game. What’s in this deal for the players? Give or take $14 billion over the next seven years.”
If weaker teams can’t compete from a revenue point, why not contract?
“We believe all of our franchises are important and can be viable and can be successful. And frankly, if we’re going to continue to grow the game and grow what you refer to as national revenues, you need to have a truly national footprint, not just in Canada but in the United States.”