So now the battle lines in the NHL CBA campaign are drawn.
If both sides are flexible in negotiating in the next month or so, there may be a light in the forest.
I’m sure the top six or eight blue-chip ownership groups will want to reduce the amounts of the major revenue-sharing proposal from the PA, and perhaps tweak the term of the “transition” to five years or more. The PA may have to stretch some on the league’s free agency, contract limits and arbitration elimination ideas. I think that’s do-able.
On the structural issue, the way I understand it, instead of linking club payrolls directly to revenue, in which they rise at the same rate, the players are willing to limit salary increases to 2, 4 and 6 percent in the first three years if league revenue continues to rise at same rate it has since the lockout, which is about 7 per cent.
“What we’re suggesting is the players partner with the financially stronger owners to help stabilize the industry and assist the less financially strong ownership groups,” Donald Fehr said today.
But there's a ways to go....