Players were ready to play, Don said no … Fehr sends email to players … 3 key points for owners


  • Chris Johnston via twitter: Ron Hainsey said that the players were told by the NHL on Wednesday night that if they brought Don Fehr back into the room, it would potentially be ”a deal-breaker.”
  • Terry Koshan of the Toronto Star: NHLPA executive director, Don Fehr, sent an email to players, here are the key points:

    1. Transition payment (“make whole”): We moved off of our $393 Million proposal and accepted the League’s December 5 offer of $300 Million. This means there is an agreement on dollars.

    2. Individual SPC (standard player contract) length and Variability of SPCs: The Owners have proposed (i) a limit of 5 years, except that Players who re-sign with their Clubs could contract for 7 years, and (ii) a 5% limit on year-to-year salary variability in long-term deals. We believe that these restrictions would devastate the “middle class” of players and result in the NBA model, where a few players earn huge salaries while pushing everyone else down toward the minimum. (Their proposal would also undermine the free-agent market by giving a significant advantage to Clubs that want to re-sign their own Players.) Moreover, in spite of our concerns, in order to close the deal we moved from of our last offer (a 10-year limit and no limit on variability) and instead proposed an 8-year limit on all SPCs and a variability limit of 25% over the term of the SPC, applied to contracts of 7 years or longer.

    3. Pensions: We agreed to the Owners’ proposal on pensions, which included the Players’ commitment of $50 Million of the $300 Million transition payment in order to address Owners’ concerns about their liability in the event of underfunding.

    4. CBA Term: The League pressed hard for a 10-year term, moving off their previous proposal of 6 + 1, and doubling the length of their initial proposal of a 5 years. In fact, they’ve moved away from us on this issue from the very start. Nevertheless, in an effort to reach agreement, we made a major move towards them, offering an 8-year term, with a Player right to opt out after 6 years.

    5. Cap Benefit Recapture: We again made a move towards the League, responding to their complaint that this provision must apply to existing SPCs as well as new ones, by offering to cover all existing contracts that have 7 years or more remaining.

  • Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post: Gary Bettman’s opening remarks (video of Bettman’s press conference in previous post):

    “We’re at a loss to explain what happened. But things were not of the same tone as they had been on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the owners decided to try and continue to do everything possible to make a new collective bargaining agreement. The key for all of us — particularly the owners, but everybody associated with the game — was to have a long-term agreement. That’s what our fans deserve. That’s what the game deserves. That’s what the players deserve. And that’s what all of our business partners deserve. And that’s something we wanted to achieve, with a system that would work appropriately and would continue to enable us to have great competitive balance and grow the game. With that view in mind, the owners, particularly the four new ones that joined us … they wanted to push ahead and do something bold. And so, what they did, among other things, was virtually put a new $100-million on the table on Wednesday night in the hopes that would help show that we wanted to get back and play, which we do, very much, as quickly as possible. The union’s response was shockingly silent, so to speak, in terms of their reaction. It was almost no reaction. It was, ‘thank you, we’ll take the $100-million.’ The owners were beside themselves. Some of them, I had never seen that emotional. And they said they don’t know what happened, but this process is over — clearly, the union doesn’t want to make a deal, and this was from the four new entrants in the process.”

  • Dan Rosen via twitter: Bill Daly stressed that there are 3 must-have for the owners: 1. max 10 year CBA 2. shorter than 8 year max for contract lengths like the NHLPA proposed 3. no compliance issues. The NHL leaders have stressed that if it was a yes on those 3 points, they would continue to negotiate. If it was a no, they won’t negotiate. Obviously, it was a no.
  • Louis Jean via twitter: A source on the 5-7 year contract term limit: ”there shouldn’t be more give or else we’ll have another lockout. Might as well fix it now.”
  • Louis Jean via twitter: Source:  “If we can’t get a deal with Burkle, Brisson & Crosby, it may not get done. Take it to a vote or we’re probably not playing.”
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