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[Article] SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: CBA MYTHS VS. FACTS

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There seems to be a widespread variety of misconceptions regarding the ongoing CBA negotiations and the potential of an impending lockout. We, the hockey fans, are the driving force behind the very existence of the league. Without us, there is no NHL. It is as a group that we have this great impact and it as a group that we must be well informed. Well informed about how the league will be the cause of any potential lockout, this time around. Effective use of this knowledge, as a group, is the only way we will be able to encourage a healthy, stable league.

Instead of having to wade through all of the discussion in the "Official" CBA negotiations thread, I hope this can serve as readily available source reaching as many CDC viewers as possible. With such a large user base, CDC has the potential to be a powerful medium spreading the information to others who love the game of hockey as much as we do.

Please, for the love of hockey, lets exercise our power as fans to help preserve the league and game we hold so dear.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: CBA MYTHS VS. FACTS

NHLPA.com Staff

September 04, 2012

With a vast amount of information available on the state of current CBA negotiations, it can be difficult to separate myth from fact. Here is a useful chart that breaks down some of the most common myths on CBA negotiations.

Myth:

Gary Bettman and the NHL owners have made a “meaningful and significant” alteration to their first proposal.

Fact:

Under the NHL owners’ first proposal the players’ share of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) would fall from 57% from 43%. This is a payroll reduction of $460M, or 24%, on 2011/12 numbers. Their second proposal would reduce the player share to 46% of HRR, or “only” 19.3%.

This is the equivalent of the NHLPA making a proposal seeking 71% of HRR (mirroring the decrease in the owners’ proposal) and then making a second proposal seeking “only” 68% of HRR. Should that be treated as a “significant” and “meaningful” move in the owners’ direction worth more than $400 million?

Of course not. Nor should the owners’ proposal. The owners have made no concessions. Every part of their proposal is much more favorable to them than the current agreement. A concession is when you give up something you have, not limiting by a small amount that which you want but don’t have.

The players, on the other hand, have made real concessions in order to reach an agreement.

Myth:

Gary Bettman said about a potential lockout: “Both sides have to bear responsibility. Whether it’s a strike or a lockout, it makes zero difference.”

Fact:

A lockout is very much a choice; no law compels a lockout. The owners seem intent on making that choice, and doing so at the first possible moment. They have experience in locking the players out: this will be the 3rd consecutive lockout since Bettman became NHL Commissioner.) The players have not even considered a strike.

The law allows for the season to start on time under the terms of the existing CBA so long as both sides are willing to do so. The players are willing to continue to negotiate and also continue to work until a deal is reached that is fair to both sides. The owners’, apparently are not so willing. If training camps and the 2012-13 NHL season do not start on time, it will be the owners’ decision and their decision alone.

Myth:

Gary Bettman accused the players of “stonewalling” the negotiations.

Fact:

The players are not “stonewalling”. They have simply refused to accept the owners’ outrageous demands. There was and is plenty of time to reach an agreement and begin the season without interruption.

The players have made proposals to limit their salaries and to implement far reaching revenue sharing.

Myth:

Gary Bettman says of revenue sharing: “It is a non-issue… a distraction.”

Fact:

Meaningful revenue sharing is an essential component of any successful league. It is not a distraction; it is the heart of the issue.

After seven straight seasons of record revenue, it’s clear that if the NHL has a problem, it is not a revenue issue, but rather a revenue disparity issue. The owners’ revenue sharing proposal does increase revenue sharing somewhat, but every dollar of revenue sharing is paid for by player salary reductions; the higher income clubs contribute nothing on their own.

The Players’ propose that they partner with the high-income teams to provide targeted funding for the distressed teams and owners. But the players won’t and shouldn’t have to do this alone. The higher income teams need to share far more with the lower revenue teams. The Players will do their part; will the owners?

Myth:

The NHL maintains that the starting point for these negotiations is that the owners’ should be “paying less to the players.”

Fact:

Why? When Gary Bettman and the owners cancelled the entire 2004-05 season to institute a salary cap, they also rolled-back player salaries by 24% across the board. Despite those massive concessions (billions of dollars over the life of the current CBA) and with revenues now more than $ 1 Billion per year more than before the lockout, the NHL wants to massively reduce salaries yet again.

What is the rationale? Where would the savings go? No answers have been made to these questions; simply a statement that they want to pay less. That is no surprise. Every employer in every industry wants to do that.

Moreover, since the lockout, the owners have done nothing to address the rapid escalation in non-player costs, which have risen at a far higher rate than the players’ share. To date there has been no proposal or even any stated willingness to constrain these costs, or, indeed, to limit or reduce any costs other than what goes to the players.

Players are offering real concessions, worth about $450 M over the next three years if the NHL grows at the rate it has the last several year, and perhaps nearly double that if it grows at the rate of the last two seasons. The players are willing to do their part, but are not willing to have salaries simply reduced so that they do not share in the growth of the sport. The high revenue teams need to step up to help the lower revenue clubs as well.

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Was this written by Fehr's mother? So incredibly one sided! The players accepted a cap of $39 million 7 years ago and now this article makes it sound like an offer of a cap of $58 million is an outrageous insult.

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Was this written by Fehr's mother? So incredibly one sided! The players accepted a cap of $39 million 7 years ago and now this article makes it sound like an offer of a cap of $58 million is an outrageous insult.

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Was this written by Fehr's mother? So incredibly one sided! The players accepted a cap of $39 million 7 years ago and now this article makes it sound like an offer of a cap of $58 million is an outrageous insult.

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Well this wasn't biased at all...

It might be mostly the owners fault, but the NHLPA is also to blame.

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Well this wasn't biased at all...

It might be mostly the owners fault, but the NHLPA is also to blame.

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Just saying its one-sided doesn't make it one-sided. Proving it is one-sided requires information to back up the statement. That information doesn't include sarcastic statements about who the author might be.

I would personally find it insulting if my employer offered, and entered into, a contract with me for one amount, then required me to take a 24% pay cut to remain employed. And then 5~7, or so, years later, they required me to take another 24% pay cut to continue to remain employed.

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Are any of the NYR going to help the owner pay the 997 million dollar upgrade to MSG?

How come they aren't going too? Oh, that's right! When's it's time to pay for upgrades, new seating, new parking = more income, the players don't even bat an eye.

The owners own the team. I am 100% on the owners side.

I'd like to see the players take a 50% rollback.

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Why? The NHLPA is just a union, it isn't active in the day to day runnings of the teams or the league. The current CBA is the owners' doing as is everything since that negotiation. Inflated contracts, long terms, etc didn't have to be handed out to players. But owners acted like they had more money to throw around than they had, now they're freaking out and want more.

That's great until you do the math and see that the NHL's latest offer is less than 50/50 once HHR is redefined. The players have said they'll take less of the revenue year over year for 3 years. But they know the league is growing and that the NHL is full of it when they say they need a reduction in spending now as if it's an emergency.

This reeks of the owners throwing a temper tantrum in the ice cream aisle. There's no reason to insist they get a big spending break by Sept 15 rather than a modest reduction in spending over the next few years. They're arguing against themselves 7 years ago. It was their own idea to have a cap tied to revenues. They took money from the players that they had already promised them in contracts. Try telling your cell phone company that you no longer like the contract you signed and insist they reduce your rates significantly. The only reason the players haven't threatened a strike is because they're the ones who actually enjoy hockey.

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It's only a matter of time before an owner of a "richer" team speaks up. The Canucks, Leafs, Rangers and Canadiens of the world are going to get tired of throwing away money every couple of years. Bettman has done a lot of good for the league but it's also locked out twice and possibly a third time. For me, that's 3 times too many.

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When it comes to a rollback a deadline leading to a lockout is typically the only way to get it. Unions typically only strike when going after an increase. The NHLPA knows they will have to give some concessions. So of course they're offering to continue under the current deal. That way they can drag their feet and continue to collect their current higher salaries as long as possible.

It's easy to say the owners are their own worst enemy. But the truth is it's the rich owners that are the enemy. Including our own. It's the "have teams" that look for ways to circumvent the cap. The Canucks are a "have" team that would have to revenue share. So they build contracts with front loading (Luongo) or large signing bonuses (Bieksa), increase the scouting staff, hire a sleep consultant and so on to reduce team profits. Which of course means they don't have to share as much revenue with poorer teams

The bottom line is both sides are right and wrong. The owners do need to come up with a better method of revenue sharing to ensure the rich teams help the poor ones. Salaries are right back to where they were before the last lockout. Which isn't good news for the poorer teams. All the money shouldn't have to come out of the owners pockets either which means rollbacks. Contracts need to have length and structure restrictions to cut off the richer owners creative compensation packages that screw the other owners.

Unfortunately it's human nature to be more concerned about what's going into your own pocket than what's for the greater good. If both sides see reason a fair deal can be made.

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I want NHL hockey as much as the next guy but that video is hilariously dramatic. Makes it sound like we're in the Great Depression, for crying out loud. At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of millionaires gliding around on blades on ice, chasing a round piece of rubber with curved sticks.

#firstworldproblems

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As there is nothing in there from the owners/Bettman explaining their stance it is most certainly one sided. The players side.

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I want NHL hockey as much as the next guy but that video is hilariously dramatic. Makes it sound like we're in the Great Depression, for crying out loud. At the end of the day, it's just a bunch of millionaires gliding around on blades on ice, chasing a round piece of rubber with curved sticks.

#firstworldproblems

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Are any of the NYR going to help the owner pay the 997 million dollar upgrade to MSG?

How come they aren't going too? Oh, that's right! When's it's time to pay for upgrades, new seating, new parking = more income, the players don't even bat an eye.

The owners own the team. I am 100% on the owners side.

I'd like to see the players take a 50% rollback.

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