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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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@Drybone

Fehr has been making that offer for 3 months. When negotiations started with "We'll give you a billion dollars", Fehr was clearly not the unreasonable man the NHL made him out to be. It's received a few minimal tweaks but overall, the deal has changed very little in structure and in regard to numbers.

Moreover, I do know what happens when you try to tell an owner how to run their business. I got fired for it. However since I was the guy bringing in much of the business and had a much stronger long term vision, I started a new firm and quickly took over most of his accounts. He doesn't work in the industry anymore. Good businessmen know when to listen to the suggestions and protests from others. The bad ones think they always know best. They throw a fit, alienate people who ultimately want the business to succeed and eventually file for bankruptcy.

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Here's a detailed article of the situation as it stands now. It's long, but worth the read.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=409277

They make a good point in the article. That the longer this thing goes on, the more they're hurting the NHL brand, and therefore lowering HRR. So basically, every day they fight, they're fighting over a smaller and smaller amount. But I'm not sure if the NHL even considers that. They seem to think that NHL fans will always come crawling back, and that their brand is bulletproof.

They're in for a big surprise when HRR ends up being much smaller than they predicted. Fans are fed up.

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Who cares most about this? TSN, SPSN, TEAM 1040 and your local sports reporters. Fans, particularly in the US will not rush back to the game.

The NHL and Players will take a substantial hit due to this lockout. It will take some time for revenues to get to last year's levels. It took a steroid fueled HR race for MLB to recover. I believe it will be harder for NHL.

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Should anyone be interested, here's a list of NHL owners on wikipedia. Very few of them started from scratch; most were born into money.

http://en.wikipedia....y_League_owners

I also don't presume to know what billionaire's know, but I do know that any business owner should make it a priority to stay in tune with his /her customers. I have seen little evidence of that in these negotiations.

Drybone, honestly, you seem to know a lot and I appreciate having someone like you around as it makes it easier to see things from the other side, but could you try to be a little less condescending and arrogant?

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I dont presume to know what multi billion dollar owners of NHL teams know. Thats way above my paygrade.

And if they do not need my advice, they certainly dont need your advice that they 'need' to listen to others to be a success.Ever dawn on you they have already been doing this long before you were ever born?

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The NHL has decided to become a non-profit organization, does this mean they have to pay taxes? The IRS and Revenue Canada are going to be angry. What's the potential tax on 3 billion?

Count Bettman@CountBettman

If the players don't accept our latest Make Whole offer they will receive an alternative offer..its called the Make Whole season disappear

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Should anyone be interested, here's a list of NHL owners on wikipedia. Very few of them started from scratch; most were born into money.

http://en.wikipedia....y_League_owners

I also don't presume to know what billionaire's know, but I do know that any business owner should make it a priority to stay in tune with his /her customers. I have seen little evidence of that in these negotiations.

Drybone, honestly, you seem to know a lot and I appreciate having someone like you around as it makes it easier to see things from the other side, but could you try to be a little less condescending and arrogant?

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http://www.sportsnet...pa_talks_nov11/

Grange has done a great job covering it.

Basicly what I got out of this is that these are the main points that have been developing over the past week are:

- The owners are getting closer to what the players want with the "Make Whole" provision, and we are making progress there. As Grange says there is still about 150 Million Dollars seperating the two sides.

- Owner's don't seem to be willing to budge on contracting rights.

- Who is gunna cover the losses for this Lockout with the lose of revenue.

For that last one I defeneitly think the Owner's should, it's there Lockout, and they haven't really been bargaining seriously since Early/Mid October.

And the other two I guess are just where we are stuck, although I think if the make whole provision is sorted out, and the losses are sorted out, then the contracting rights won't be a huge issue.

I guess we still have a ways to go :(

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I'm amazed that after these 85 tedious, frustrating pages, some of us have somehow managed to stay emotionally engaged in this matter.

Congratulations!

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You are fired an he is out of business. lol

That is nowhere near the same thing as starting a small business from scratch and understanding it from experience. Its not even close. Let alone being a successful multi millionaire businessman who has been running various companies for 10,20,30 and in some cases 50 years.

I dont presume to know what multi billion dollar owners of NHL teams know. Thats way above my paygrade.

And if they do not need my advice, they certainly dont need your advice that they 'need' to listen to others to be a success.Ever dawn on you they have already been doing this long before you were ever born?

Anyways, as many will have seen today, Fehr is getting NOWHERE and its because the union has no power and the owners are so pissed off they are prepared to wait as long as it takes.

And as many of you know, the union is backed into a 'fair deal' and thats all they can HOPE to get at this point. Its all downhill from here. Fehr is going to get the players SCREWED.

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Here is an article that gives some hope.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/sports/hockey/nhl-contract-issues-are-final-hurdle-in-talks.html

After a week of negotiations, the N.H.L. and its players association have drawn close to agreement on several key issues, remaining far apart in only one main area: players’ contract rights.

Donald Fehr, the executive director of the N.H.L. players union, said on Sunday that he did not "see a path to an agreement on contract rights

That area remains thorny and could delay an end to the N.H.L. lockout, which reached its 57th day Sunday and concluded with gloomy news briefings from Bill Daly, the N.H.L. deputy commissioner, and Donald Fehr, the union’s executive director. The sides remain divided over when players can become eligible for free agency, among other contract issues.

But the two sides have made far more progress toward ending the lockout than is widely believed, according to a member of the union delegation who has attended the talks.

“We’re basically there” in several areas, according to the union delegate, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly.

Fehr and Commissioner Gary Bettman met Sunday afternoon at the N.H.L. office in New York along with their deputies for less than two hours of discussions on contract rights. Afterward, the two delegations broke to leave for Toronto and Monday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Daly told reporters that “contract rights issues are very important to the clubs” and that because of the wide gulf between the two sides on those issues, “I don’t know where to go.”

Fehr said he did not “see a path to an agreement” on contract rights.

But lost amid the gloom is the progress the league and union have made in six straight days of talks. They are fairly close on the critical issue of honoring existing contracts, according to the union delegate.

The issue of finding a way to pay players with existing contracts in full under a lower salary cap — or settling on a “make whole” provision, in the language of the negotiations — had been a stumbling block in previous weeks. But by Sunday, the two sides were $2 million to $3 million apart per team, per year, an amount the delegate described as “within spitting distance.”

The league and union are even closer to agreement on revenue sharing among clubs, with a plan described as basically done except for administrative details. The system will be significantly expanded compared with the N.H.L.’s current system, with more teams qualifying for revenue sharing and more money distributed.

The system will include a small fund, similar to baseball’s industry growth fund, that Bettman can specially earmark for the neediest franchises — presumably teams like Phoenix, the Islanders, Columbus and Florida.

But big obstacles remain on the issue of contract rights.

Under the collective bargaining agreement that expired Sept. 15, players whose contracts had expired were eligible for free agency if they were 27 or had seven years of N.H.L. service. The league is seeking to raise those thresholds to 28 and eight years of experience.

The league is also seeking to restrict players’ rights to go to salary arbitration, and to limit the term of contracts to five years. Under the previous system, there were no limits.

The union delegate characterized the league’s stance on player contract issues as “very draconian” and said, “We’re very, very far apart” in that area.

According to published reports, confirmed by those present at Friday’s bargaining session, Bettman told Fehr that no deal was possible unless the union agreed to all of the league’s proposed changes to player contract rights.

“The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals,” Fehr told reporters after Sunday’s meeting. “That unless players are prepared to take — and this is my phrase, not theirs — down to the comma, that there’s nothing to do.”

But the union delegate also stressed the “very professional” tenor of the negotiations on both sides.

Reports emerged Friday of a shouting match between players and owners at the end of that day’s meeting. But the delegate said the exchange was “extremely brief” and stood out only because of its rarity.

The exchange was between the free-agent defenseman Chris Campoli and Winnipeg defenseman Ron Hainsey on one side, and the owners Murray Edwards of Calgary and Craig Leipold of Minnesota on the other.

The delegate called descriptions of the incident a “major exaggeration.”

“No one would have noticed it but for the fact that these meetings are very, very professional — no one even raises their voice,” he said.

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I for one am glad the players aren't caving. The NHL really does have an awful approach to contract rights. ELCs and UFA restrictions are extended now, they may be extended even further in the future. It may no longer be worth it for players to become free agents. The issue points in this negotiation leave a bad taste in my mouth with regards to the NHL side of things. I don't want to see them win on any of these points.

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@cotsonika

Most interesting comment from this panel in Toronto: Steve Fehr saying he and Bill Daly agree deal will be done quickly when time is right.

Wasn't the time right, back in August?

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Why the league keeps fighting

With the NHLPA offering massive concessions, why does the league continue to push for more? Simple: there is a financial case for doing so.

It has been suggested – by fans, by media, and certainly by the players – that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is a fool for continuing to push for this lockout. With the season-ending 2004-05 lockout still alive and well in recent memory, and occurring on Bettman’s watch, he has earned the loathing of many.

The emotional response is understandable. But a fool Bettman isn’t. It is well worth remembering that the league got its money’s worth out of the last lockout in the form of massive reductions in the amount of money the players received. A lost season was ugly, but it had no lasting negative financial impact on the game as a whole and the additional money the owners made justified the decision financially.

In my estimation, Bettman is precisely the opposite of a fool: a cold, hard, businessman carefully weighing the dollars and cents of every decision he makes. Those decisions, which have led to the current lockout, may hurt fans, players and the game, but ultimately they will favour the financial interests of his constituents: NHL owners.

The league may have made $3.3 billion last season, but that’s not the money the owners have at stake. The owners are actually risking just their 43 percent share of that $3.3 billion: $1.42 billion, give or take. That still represents a significant chunk of change, but then they are not gambling all of it in one go either.

Until the middle of October, Bettman was playing with mostly house money. An 82-game season, starting early in November, was still possible. Sure, the preseason would be lost, but that represented a small enough share of owner revenue that it was not a primary concern. Bettman learned the lessons of the last lockout – that teams were affected more or less equally, and that fans would return quickly – so concerns about lasting damage to the popularity of the game are likely minimal.

With minimal long-term concerns, but now with each day costing the owners money, how does Bettman decide when he has a good deal? Because he is the rarest of things – a rational decision-maker – it seems likely that he makes a simple calculation that decides for him. The calculation?

Will I make the owners more money over the term of the next collective bargaining agreement by a) agreeing to a deal at the best terms I can get now or b- by pushing for more concessions and making a deal further along in the process?

What would that calculation look like?

The majority of NHL revenue is made in the regular season – the playoffs, which have less than 100 games each year (though ticket prices are increased for those games), are a significant but comparatively small portion of overall NHL revenue. Even assuming the NHL makes twice as much money per playoff game as it does per regular season game, the sum revenue of the playoffs only comes in at a little over $200 million. Including the preseason (with revenues of less than $100 million) and we’re talking about roughly $3 billion in total NHL revenue – 90 percent – coming from the regular season. That’s a rough estimate, but it’s good enough to illustrate the point of the calculation above.

Every 2.2 days, give or take, the NHL loses a regular season game from the schedule. For every month lost to lockout, starting at some point in early November, that’s 14 games lost. That means each month burned cuts roughly half a billion dollars from the revenue pot that the owners and players share (17.1% of the season multiplied by ~$3.0 billion). I’d be surprised if Bettman and the owners (as well as Fehr and the NHLPA, for that matter) didn’t have a more exact figure in their minds each day they negotiate.

Of course, the owners aren’t losing $500 million. The league as a whole is. Right now, with the players likely getting 54.3 percent of that (based on Bob McKenzie’s recent calculation) a month lost costs the owners in the neighborhood of $230 million in revenue.

There is an additional wrinkle. The owners, unlike the players, incur costs when the season is in session, as a big chunk of that money goes toward putting the games on. While some items are deducted from general revenue rather than from the owner’s side, there’s no question that each month costs them significantly less than our calculation. The players, on the other hand, lose the entirety of their share with no prospect of getting it back – $270 million per month, or thereabouts, this year.

Even using that full monthly figure of $230 million, it does not take many concessions on the players’ part to justify losing that money. For Bettman to justify losing that money, he needs to make back just $38 million per season over a CBA with a six-year term. That figure drops to $33 million per year over a seven-year CBA (I suspect that this is the reason the NHLPA pushed early for a short-term CBA – a short-term CBA reduces the NHL’s incentive to push for the best possible deal because they would have less time to make back the money they managed to extract from the players, making any loss of revenue harder to justify).

Taking morality out of the equation – while I’m not especially thrilled with the league imposing its will on the players, this is business between two very rich parties and should be viewed as such – and it’s easy to understand where the league is coming from. The players have much more money at stake than the owners do. There’s a sound financial case for the league to continue to push hard for its objectives.

The question is whether the players are operating using the same sort of model. As we’ve seen, a difference of even $40 million/season over a six- or seven-year CBA is likely enough to justify continued negotiations, even on the players’ side. But they are losing money faster than the owners, and because of that it will make financial sense for the union to cave far quicker than it will for the league.

For those hoping for a quick end to this lockout, the hope lies with Donald Fehr and the NHLPA, not with Gary Bettman and the NHL. Fehr’s constituents are more apt to rebel than the owners – there are more of them and despite Fehr’s superb work in unifying the NHLPA he is simply playing with an inferior hand. More than that, though, if Fehr is working in the best interests of his constituents it will make financial sense soon (if it doesn’t already – with the cone of silence that has descended on talks it is impossible to know for sure) to make the best available deal and bring this lockout to an end.

It is also in Fehr’s interests, however, not to act in a purely rational manner. The NHLPA’s only threat is mutually assured destruction: that they will take as much punishment as is necessary to get what they want, and even though that hurts them more than the owners, the owners’ financial interests will be hurt, too.

It is an ugly dynamic; it is also the reason why this lockout continues despite the fact that the collective interest of both parties would have been best served by a deal that saved the full NHL season. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, the collective interests of both parties are not what either side is fighting for.

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How is contract rights the biggest issue left, and yet a deal isn't done?

The NHLPA should push it to 6 year max, and just accept the other rules and be done with it.

Young players who have one good season should never be awarded with a 6 million dollar contract. If anything these rules are to protect the owners from themselves, because clearly they can't resist offering some dumb deals.

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