NHL CBA Update
The NHL Players Association (NHLPA) and the NHL executives have continued to talk in New York City to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the upcoming season. The NHL executives proposed the first and only proposal on July 13th. The proposal consisted of several concessions the NHLPA would have to take which include, but not limited to:
Reduction in revenue sharing percentage with the NHLPA to be reduced from 57 percent to 43 percent
Eliminating signing bonuses
Eliminating frontloading or backloading contracts
Adding more rules and restrictions for entry level contracts
Eliminating salary arbitration
Needless to say, these concessions that the NHL expects the players to make are concerning to the NHLPA. The NHLPA requested to see independently audited financial statements of all 30 NHL clubs. The first group of 76,000 pages of financial reports arrived at the NHLPA offices on Sunday. However, with the current CBA set to expire on September 15.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had some interesting things to say about the information request."...with the respect to the general financial condition of the clubs, it's something they've had access to and known about for a long time. And in fact, if this was a real concern for the Players Association, we would have expected to get a request before July 13th."
Daly might be right in terms of the amount of time it takes to review such financial statements, especially when there are 30 clubs to review as well as a September deadline. However, Daly's statement suggests that the July 13th date was not only too late, but an ambiguous time to ask considering they could have before.
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On the other hand, Daly clearly should have known that the July 13th date plays a integral part of why the NHLPA asked for the financial documents in the first place. July 13th was the date the NHL executives proposed the previously mentioned concessions.
Los Angeles Kings forward, Kevin Westgarth was reported by New York Daily News as saying"(They) want us to give back 24 percent of our salaries. If your boss came to you and said that, then I don't think you'd do it without asking to see his books and see if what he's telling you is reasonable."
The NHLPA will have to review these financial statements in record time in order for a new CBA to be signed before the September 15th deadline, or will they?
The NHLPA's executive director, Don Fehr has already expressed that the players might be willing to start the upcoming season under the current CBA while negotiations continue. This type of statement sheds a whole new dynamic on the situation.
For one, based on Fehr's statement, the players are labeled the group that wants to make this situation work. If the owners were to lock the players out on September 15th, the public will know it was strictly the unwillingness of the NHL executives that is causing the NHL season to be in jeopardy.
Hopefully, the September 15th deadline will not have any significance. As of now, both sides continue to talk and the NHLPA continues to review the financial statements as well as poll the players to see what is most important to them. The talks in the month of August could make or break the NHL season.
By: Stephen London
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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