After a rush of lengthy back-to-back CBA negotiations these past two weeks, face time has ceased between the NHL and NHLPA representatives. While they may still maintain that both parties are “always in contact,” having the two sides locked in the same “secret” room gave a lot more hope to fans and media that the season (or at least some of it) may still be saved, than the latest news that neither side is prepared to budge (yet again).
Remember back in September when this seemed to all be about hockey related revenue (HRR) shares? The owners wanted a bigger piece of the pie and the players were less than enthused about giving any up. The two sides duked it out over what was fair and unfair and the players got called greedy by the fans for not sharing. Now that the negotiations have moved both sides toward an eventual 50/50 HRR agreement, other heated issues have taken the place of roadblocking our way to the ice.
The two topics taking the forefront of negotiations are player contracting rights and the “make whole” provisions on current player contracts.
Players are willing to get cozy with the idea of the 50/50 revenue split, but only if all current contracts are honored. Both sides have different ideas of how to make this happen, the owners with it falling on the shoulders of players, and the players with the burden taken on in larger part by the owners.
You’d think that would be where the problems would end, and that as soon as another fair means of honoring current player contracts was met that we’d be dusting off our sweaters for the first home game of the abridged season, but no… On top of the owners’ getting their 50/50 split and asking the players to pay into their idea of “make whole,” the newest demands on player contracting rights have really halted any progress.
“The owners don’t like players to have any bargaining power,” said Donald Fehr on Sunday. Not that the players have much to fight with as is, but these contracting issues have brought about an even larger standstill than I think was predicted.
Right now, we wait. No meetings are on the schedule, likely we won’t see any negotiations until the end of the month, if that. Predicting more cuts to the season soon.