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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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Was pondering that the owner/players only meeting offer was just so the owners could test the temperature/resolve of the players.

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Was pondering that the owner/players only meeting offer was just so the owners could test the temperature/resolve of the players.

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Yeah, I don't see Bettman allowing this lockout to end with out getting his way.

I am not a businessman, so I don't know if getting his way is crucial to the survival of the NHL.

He is playing for a checkmate, but seems ok with a stalemate.

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Nope, a carefully calculated and planned move. It is one of the final steps to ending the season according to the last lockout list of events. Bettman will probably cancel the season on Xmas morning.

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How bout every owner vs every team rep,with the exception of Phoenix of course.I,d really love to know however what owners would be involved in this so called "next step".

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I wish it was that easy and we get to watch hockey soon.

The biggest deal breaker right now is Fehr is asking for guaranteed $$$ no matter what happens to HRR. Actually its worst, Fehr is asking for guaranteed $1.88 Billion + equal share of any increase in HRR over the length of the CBA, but players don't get any less $$$ than previous year of deal if HRR drops. It would decouple the salary cap from revenue. How can the owners possibly agree to that after fighting so hard for a salary cap. Not gonna happen.

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I'd be happy with 10 from each side, they each get to pick 1/2 of the members. The players pick 5 players and 5 owners. The owners pick 5 players and 5 owners.

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I hope you are right. But I hope the cancellation comes sooner. Just put a fork in it already.

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I agree 100%, I will hate myself if hockey comes back because I know I'm weak.

I don't want to be I just am.

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I agree 100%, I will hate myself if hockey comes back because I know I'm weak.

I don't want to be I just am.

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I wonder if it is possible or feasible to introduce an owner/player option to solve the long term contracts issue. For example, first option goes to the owner to rollback the $ amount of existing contracts on a contract by contract basis. If this happens, then the player should have an option to accept the rollback or go to free agency.

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I wish it was that easy and we get to watch hockey soon.

The biggest deal breaker right now is Fehr is asking for guaranteed $$$ no matter what happens to HRR. Actually its worst, Fehr is asking for guaranteed $1.88 Billion + equal share of any increase in HRR over the length of the CBA, but players don't get any less $$$ than previous year of deal if HRR drops. It would decouple the salary cap from revenue. How can the owners possibly agree to that after fighting so hard for a salary cap. Not gonna happen.

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I can't help shaking the feeling that just as 04-05 was about players share every bit as much the salary cap that this standoff is more about guaranteed contracts than it is about hard dollars.

The attack on contract rights spells out in plain sight in my eyes. Salary cap + no guaranteed contracts = sports ownership nirvana.

If we lose a season, union decertification or not, I think this was the objective all along. The only way the NHL was going to give this fight up was with massive concessions on everything else.

Mark my words, if the season is lost, non-guaranteed contracts are all we will be hearing about from then on.

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players can’t let League eliminate their Fehr Filter

Do you know why Gary Bettman gets defecated upon by the majority of NHL players during the lockout?

Because it's easier than splattering the owners.

Easier because he's had a lockout hat trick. Easier because he's a lightning rod for criticism and symbolic of all the elitist corporate hypocrisy that the players feel fuels the work stoppage.

But also easier because, inherently, the players don't want to believe their guy is the reason they're not collecting paychecks and letting the game die on the vine. They want to believe their owners and GMs are going through labor hell for a valorous reason beyond a cash grab. They want to believe their guy isn't the guy driving the lockout — Boston Bruins players, obviously, excluded.

Bettman's a terrible messenger, like having an IRS auditor breaking bad news to families in intensive care. Put the owners and players in a room without their respective hatchet men — Bettman and NHLPA chief Donald Fehr — and you end up with different lines of communication being opened.

Like when Trevor Linden, NHLPA president, listened to the late Harley Hotchkiss, the co-owner of the Calgary Flames and chairman of the board of governors, back in 2005.

Linden and Hotchkiss met in small groups that didn't have either Bettman or then-NHLPA chief Bob Goodenow present in the room, as their negotiations had become rancid and pointless. This allowed Hotchkiss to make his plea directly to Linden: That the NHL's small-market teams needed help to survive, and here's how the players can help them.

History has judged it differently, but Linden was framed as a capitulator to the owners when the lockout ended, as did the tenure of Goodenow. His conversations with Hotchkiss were seen as an influence.

So of course the NHL, at the this juncture, is willing to get the players and the owners in the same room for a dialogue, without Bettman or Fehr present. In theory, it's a great way to generate good will and new ideas.

In reality, it's just another run at the Fehr Filter, if it's not just a half-hearted PR gambit.

From ESPN.com, the post-federal mediation news about Bettman's meeting proposal:

The news wasn't 90 minutes old that mediation had failed to bring any progress in NHL labor talks when word surfaced that the NHL commissioner offered Thursday to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr to have owners and players only in the next bargaining session (whenever that is) -- no league or union brass or staff.

I'll say this for the commissioner, this one caught everyone off guard.

"We want to find a way to get to a deal," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com via email Thursday evening, explaining the surprise offer. "Nothing else has worked. The commissioner felt that we might as well propose something different. We will see how they respond."

The NHLPA is said to be "considering" the offer.

If they accept, it'll be conditionally. Katie Strang of ESPN New York wants to see all the owners involved.

Nick Cotsonika wants to see these adopted for the meeting:

Two conditions: Allow all the owners to come, or at least a cross-section of them, and not just the few who have been involved in the negotiations, like hawk Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins. Allow lawyers to advise the players, so the seasoned businessmen don't have an unfair advantage.

Again, it's a nice idea: The players and owners, the ones who allegedly care about the game more than the soul-less fiends that represent them in negotiations, getting together to find common ground and bang out a deal.

But again: This is just the NHL's way to get Donald Fehr out of the room, and is using the "removal" of Gary Bettman from the process as a carrot.

Already, we've seen:

The NHL proclaim for months that it does not "believe Fehr speaks for the players, and has hijacked the negotiations to suit his own ends."

• That, specifically, Fehr misled the players in an internal memo after negotiations in early November.

• The NHL giving general managers a 48-hour window that many of them never knew existed to speak directly to the player — without telling the NHLPA about the edict.

It's divide and conquer. Like a child getting what it wants from one parent after the other said "no", through the awesome power of flattery. Like a League that attempts to pry away the players from their leadership in order to fracture the union.

Don't let Roman Hamrlik fool you: It hasn't worked yet. But the League feels that Donald Fehr is the reason we're not playing hockey right now, and the tactic is to remove him from the process to open the players' eyes — like burning Indiana Jones with fire to snap him out of the Temple of Doom trance.

Perhaps they're correct, and Fehr's unwillingness to offer clarity and progress in the negotiating room is pushing the season to the brink.

Or perhaps they realize that he's got these players coalesced together like a Jacques Lemaire trap, and there's a better chance they launch the decertification nuclear option than there is that they'll cut a deal.

New offers. Mediation. Meetings without Gary Bettman in the room. The NHL is scrambling. Question is, is that a symptom of losing this labor war to the union or a collection of last-ditch efforts before they blow up the 2012-13 season?

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Our special Christmas gift this year from Bettman is a cancelled season. He will announce it at Christmas morning when everyone is opening their gifts.

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That is NOT true. Haven't we had this discussion before?

Here's a direct quote from the players' last proposal made public:

Source: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=409992

As that clearly proves, it is absolutely untrue to say they are demanding a guarantee of $1.88B because that number is based on last season's HRR but the "never dip below the previous season level" rule doesn't come into play until season 2 UNDER THE NEW CBA. Even if HRR in the first full season back does reach last season's level, the players' share will not be $1.88B because they'll be getting 50% and not 57%.

I don't know if that rule will make into the new CBA or not, or even if the owners have a problem with it at all (as far as I know, we only have people's guess that it's a deal breaker for the owners), but I still think that should be an easy give for them because HRR NEVER went backwards under the last agreement, even with a major world economic recession. Being that the level will be set each season HRR rises under the new CBA and that the damage from the lockout should be upfront and then taper off as fans' and sponsors' anger recedes, it really shouldn't be a big deal to guarantee to players that they aren't going to end up losing even more in the future.

As for the "they want to be partners but not take equal risk" argument, well, that cuts both ways. Owners can't make bad decisions, like placing and keeping money losing teams in bad markets, and then ask players to pay for them by taking cuts and making concessions time after time and then pull out the ole "but we want to be partners who share the risks" crap every time it suits them. They are either partners in giving and taking or they're not at all. They want players to take equal risks, then they need to do their part by not damaging the league with suckhole teams and being willing to make equal concessions by meeting players half way in a CBA negotiation, not half way from their purposefully ridiculous initial offer.

If you want to complain about them asking for any guarantee at all, go ahead, but at least complain about the reality of latest offer we know about and not an outdated version.

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Will NHL agree to NHLPA’s request for guaranteed players’ share growth?

Jason Brough

Nov 21, 2012, 2:51 PM EST

Getty Images

While it’s clear the NHLPA has made moves towards the NHL, expect the following part of the union’s latest CBA proposal (as perthe memo sent to the players) to grab the league’s attention:

“There are no guarantees or fixed targets, other than a requirement that, beginning with the second year of the Agreement, players’ share, expressed in dollars, may not fall below its value for the prior season. This proposal allows us to determine players’ share regardless of the effects of the lockout and its aftermath.”

So basically the union is saying there are no guarantees…unless you count the guarantee that the players’ share will never decrease year to year.

For the NHL, this of course means that hockey-related revenues can’t decrease year to year, otherwise the players will receive more than the agreed upon 50 percent of HRR.

Will the owners take that risk? Because there’s no telling how this lockout will be greeted by fans and sponsors. And the economy is anything but guaranteed to improve. There’s even concern in Canada that the dollar could fall considerably if there’s a slowdown in China.

Business is unpredictable. If it wasn’t, we’d all know if we should buy RIM stock.

Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Cotsonika makes another point:

PA proposal doesn't just hurt owners for a bad year. It hurts them for a GOOD year. If revenues spike one year, it costs them the next.

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