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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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After the earlier tweets about Fehr and Daly talking on the phone:

@KatieStrangESPN #CBA Told recent conversation between S. Fehr and Daly was "substantive," Enough to save WC? Highly doubtful but better than radio silence
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The solution seems to be right in front of them. It needs the following elements:

-a fixed player dollar portion over a couple years until revenue growth allows 50/50 split (honor existing contracts)

-higher contribution to revenue sharing, from players (drop to 50/50 split), and the richer teams (what formula?)

-a system that encourages the poor teams to improve revenue position

-a way to remove the long back loaded contracts (nhl has proposed 5 year term limit and 5% variation year to year)

All of this seems possible, but yet the NHL has their heads in the sand and isn't listening. :picard:

I'd like to see a proposal go to board vote. While they are at it, lets release the votes publicly so we can find out what doesn't work for which particular team owner. Let them answer to the press why it doesn't work. Either that, or drop the media ban on the owners. Let them talk. Nothing is getting done behind closed doors. Their unwillingness to negotiate transparently and fairly is frustrating.

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scathing article from Cam Cole at the Vancouver Sun:

VANCOUVER — Not to be a contrarian here, but all the gnashing of teeth over the National Hockey League’s reported intention to cancel the Bridgestone Winter Classic later this week is completely misplaced.

If the league does it, it won’t be despite the fact that it was Toronto versus Detroit, two storied franchises, a first inclusion of a Canadian team, in all ways a potential bonanza.

It will be precisely because Gary Bettman and his soulless owners — and their crisis management team and the lockout specialists at the law firm of Proskauer Rose and whoever else is advising the NHL on acceptable risks — have concluded that in those two hockey markets, the game is bulletproof, backlash-proof.

Torontonians return to the ticket windows like trained pigs every year, no matter how terrible the Maple Leafs are, how much they charge for a seat and a beer and a hotdog, how many generations go by without any real sense of something good in the offing.

Detroit is Hockeytown, USA. The Red Wings, at the opposite end of the performance scale from the sorry Leafs, consistently reward their intensely loyal fan base with excellent ownership, management, players and prospects.

Whenever hockey comes back, no matter how shabbily the two sides in this labour war treat them, whatever the fallout might be in lesser markets, Bettman and his henchmen know that Detroit and Toronto will never punish them for their sins. And the casual fan will forget it was supposed to be on, anyway.

Sure, the league will lose the record ticket and merchandise revenue the game at massive Michigan Stadium would have generated, but compared to the cost of wiping out the entire pre-New Year’s schedule, it’s a drop in the bucket.

Indeed, if the Winter Classic is cancelled — and whatever might be announced this week doesn’t make it so, because there is a certain air of scripted-ness to this whole dog-and-pony show that defies accepting at face value anything either side may say — you can be sure the NHL will simply re-schedule for a year hence. Big House, here we come again. No hard feelings, eh? No harm done.

Only I’m not sure the league has done its calculations correctly, on that last bit.

Because if cancelling the Winter Classic — one of the brilliant strokes to emerge from the last lockout, when the league knew it had to come back better, more appealing and with more fresh new ideas than at any time in its history — doesn’t cause harm, and plenty of it, then shame on all of us.

Shame on the media, for chasing the non-negotiating committees around the continent, or lining up like groupies at the players’ shinny games to beg for a quote, reinforcing the notion that we are hopelessly lost without them. Shame on the fans for railing at the players and owners, swearing they will never, ever, ever come back this time — and then coming back, anyway. You know you will.

But mostly, shame on the league’s corporate partners, for getting back into bed with an outfit that exhibits an unfathomable arrogance towards its customers and, by extension, takes for granted the customers of those TV networks and car makers and tire manufacturers, those breweries and fast food outlets, those banks and video games.

It’s the “Bridgestone” Winter Classic. Huge investment. It’s on NBC, the network that — after years of watching hockey wander aimlessly in the U.S. television wasteland — paid the NHL $2 billion over 10 years for rights to air its product, kicking off each season’s slate of network games with the breathlessly-hyped extravaganza on New Year’s Day.

If HBO, whose “24/7, Road to the Winter Classic” documentaries have been an enormous boon to the profile of hockey and its players the last couple of seasons, doesn’t tell the NHL to take a hike after this, it will be a miracle.

How happy can NBC — which will pay the league its $200 million this year, lockout or not — be if it has no sports property on a holiday when hockey is supposed to fill three or four hours of programming time? Thanks for nothing, NHL. How happy can the companies be that were to have advertised on the telecast as part of their overall commitment to hockey, when their best audience of the season is lost?

My old National Post colleague, Scott Burnside, raised the salient point on ESPN.com Wednesday: if you’re a sponsor, why would you touch the NHL with a 10-foot pole late in any CBA?

“And if you're a sponsor looking for a place to park your advertising or sponsorship monies,” he wrote, “why you would turn to a sport whose signature move every time it's presented with a labor negotiation is nuclear winter?”

Make no mistake: if the NHL cancels the Winter Classic, it will be for the sole purpose of sending the message that there is nothing it will not sacrifice to break down the players’ resolve. Because the New Year’s Day gigglefest is the NHL’s best property between September and April. Better, and more important, than any all-star weekend.

It will be a demonstration of the owners’ willingness to risk destroying a good deal of what the league has built in the darkest corners of Hockeydom south of the border to prove a point: that it’s their game, not ours, and certainly not the players’.

They know Canadians will never turn on them, and they can probably count on the U.S. Northeast to hang in there and shrug off another body blow. The Bruins, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins ... they’re solid.

So here’s to you, our American cousins in those markets where hockey is only followed by the few, the brave, the die-hards, or in years when the locals are doing well.

Grow a pair, people.

Make these idiots pay. Turn away. Watch something else, and don’t go back when they kiss your butt and promise you an autographed jockstrap and a buy-one, get-one-free hotdog deal. When they say the game’s going to be better and the ticket prices are going to be lower, call their bluff. Because this time, they have no grand plan to make it better, and the ticket prices are never coming down.

Except in Phoenix, of course, where the NHL beat the Christmas rush Wednesday by laying off the Coyotes’ very able manager of media relations. Best of the season to you, Tim Bulmer, from Gary and the gang.

That ought to balance the budget.

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The winter classic isn't about growing the game in the markets of the teams that are playing.

It's about reaching a massive television audience on NBC on a day where they have no competition. That's the whole point of it. Growing the game's television revenues.

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The winter classic isn't about growing the game in the markets of the teams that are playing.

It's about reaching a massive television audience on NBC on a day where they have no competition. That's the whole point of it. Growing the game's television revenues.

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The cheques are in the mail.

Locked-out NHL players are expected to have the pain of missing their first full pay period offset Wednesday when they receive last season's escrow payment, according to a spokesman for the NHL Players' Association.

Players are due to be returned 7.98 per cent of what they earned last year, plus interest, on the same day they would have received their second paycheque of the 2012-13 season if there hadn't been a work stoppage.

The escrow payments will amount to about $80,000 for every million dollars a player earned, before deductions. For example, New York Rangers forward Brad Richards will gross approximately $960,000 US after being the league's highest-paid player last season.

Under the terms of the expired collective bargaining agreement, NHL players had a portion of their salaries deducted throughout the season and placed into an escrow account. Once the final accounting for a year was completed - which ensured the correct percentage of revenue was paid out in salaries - players were refunded accordingly.

These escrow cheques come at an important time, with the lockout set to eliminate another pay cycle. Players also missed a cheque on Oct. 15, but that would only have covered four days of work. The paycheque they would have received Wednesday would have been for a full half-month period.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr met with a group of players in Minnesota on Monday night and acknowledged in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that some of his constituents are concerned about lost wages that are mounting.

"But that doesn't mean you make a bad agreement because of it," Fehr told the newspaper.

The NHL's labour talks have been on hold since Oct. 18, when the NHLPA countered a league offer with three proposals of its own. Each of those were quickly rejected.

Since then, a league-imposed deadline to play a full season has passed and the NHL cancelled all games through Nov. 30. The Jan. 1 Winter Classic outdoor game is expected to be wiped off the schedule later this week.

Superstorm Sandy forced the NHL to close its New York headquarters on Monday and Tuesday, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated that it didn't affect the bargaining process. However, he added in an email that there was no progress to report on the labour front.

Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Escrow+cheques+ease+lockout+pain/7473911/story.html#ixzz2AyDZtbqx

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Just a random question about the CBA,

If the owners and NHL get their way, and players salaries are reduced, do/should players have the right to re-negotiate their contracts in terms of length or other factors?

I'm just thinking about a player like Suter who signed a long term deal in hopes of making big money. Now, he will probably still make an obscene amount of money, but if a deal is reached and his salary is rolled back, does or should Suter have the option of changing his contract length from 13 years to say, 3 years? Or changing his mind about signing in Minnesota at all? Especially if he thinks Leipold acted in bad faith?

This is what he said last week:

"If you can't afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn't do it," said Suter. "(Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed.”

http://www.thecheapseats.ca/2012/10/i-love-you-i-hate-you-i-love-you-again-omg-the-nhl-hockey-lockout-has-turned-into-a-taylor-swift-song-it-seems-ryan-sut.html

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In the last CBA, contracts we're non-negotiable although they had been in the past. I'd expect they wouldn't be able to renegotiate in the new CBA, but it could be something they throw in as a measure to deal with a salary cap reduction.

In other words, not currently, but depends on what they decide.

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Jim 'Boomer' Gordon's proposed CBA solution

I like most of this proposal, it is very similar to what I proposed earlier for the numbers part. I'm not sure I'm sold on all of the contractual changes, but it does look pretty good. Not sure both sides could agree on this.

http://tinyurl.com/ao6r6me

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That's pathetic that Minnesota signed Parise and Suter to those ridiculous contracts and now they can't even afford them. That's the only reason those two guys went to Minnesota really. So they were basically tricked into signing lifetime contracts.

If Minnesota can't pay them, void the contract and let them become free agents again.

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How freaking sad is it that it seems everyone else is making proposal after proposal, many of them actually good and reasonable, that help both sides get some of what they want and yet the real parties involved seem unable to do the same?

Honestly, NHL, how long do you think this kind of fan frustration can go on without doing irrevocable damage to the league?

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The players have no power here. And they are the ones complaining.

The owners wont even meet the Fehr unless its on their terms. This is how weak the players position is.

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After the earlier tweets about Fehr and Daly talking on the phone:

If they truly are planning to cancel it tomorrow, then I doubt one phone call would be enough as well. If they can agree that they're at least close and recognize they can get a deal done, then I think they don't cancel anything else.

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Ya I would totally want to see a bunch of scabs play in this new NHL! I don't go to games to watch Kesler, Sedins, or Edler. I go to games because I want to support the owners inherent right to be greedy!

Dude I'm with poetica, the facepalm is the only real response to a post this short-sighted.

If the NHL were to consider icing scabs or having a redraft I for one would never support the NHL again, and I'm sure that's the case for a lot of Canucks fans. I would take my business and viewing pleasure elsewhere.

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Drybone, are you just a troll or actually that willfully and determinedly ignorant?

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Honestly, NHL, how long do you think this kind of fan frustration can go on without doing irrevocable damage to the league?

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Poetica, you are being very drama queenish when it comes to making "fan" statements. Please know that you do not speak on behalf of all fans lol I, as a fan of hockey do not care who is on our Canucks as long as the Canucks play for the Cup. I want the CBA signed ASAP also but i side with the owners on this one. Are they greedy? Sure but thats the point of them owning a team to get $$$ and alot of it...when some whiny crysby comes along and says "You are nothing without me! Gimme MORE percentages!" Well I guess we'll see about that...

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