made the comprehensive proposal today that the NHL asked them to make. The players insist they have made concessions and their proposal does indeed contain the words 'fifty percent'. It also contains a ratchet that ensures that the dollar amount the player receive can never be less than the year before. If in year three, all the big money teams pull a CBJ and start 0-9-1 and revenue comes up a bit short, no matter, the dollar amount the players get never goes down.
As a fan of a small market team there are some things I really hate about this proposal. Right now there is a +/- of 8 million around the midpoint of revenue that sets the cap minimum and the cap maximum. The players proposal wants to change that to +/- 20%. Goodbye competitive balance, hello New York, Detroit, and Toronto budget busting deals that the CBJ won't be able to compete with, a situation that will get worse over time. Revenue sharing won't cover the kind of gaps this proposal creates.
The offer changes the retirement plan from a defined contribution plan to a defined benefit plan. That will save the owners a lot of money. (Editor's note: sorry, I forgot to use the sarcasm font there) .The players propose to deal with front loaded contracts. Of course, their proposal only deals with contracts longer than nine years, which means it deals with a handful of contracts.
Under the guise of 'making concessions', this offer is as draconian as some of the stupid stuff the owners have put forward. Had the players seriously negotiated a deal around the owners proposal to play an 82 game season that started on November 1 we could have had a season, and they would have got their full pay for the season. Meanwhile, Don Fehr is still trying to find ways around the salary cap.
Until the players tell Don Fehr to get a deal done, he will keep dancing around with offers that the owners can't accept, because they would be stone cold fools to accept them. And the window keeps closing on guys like Derek MacKenzie and Roman Hamrlik. I know that this sounds like I am being an apologist for the owners. I'm not. But I'm a fan of a small market team, caught between a NHLPA rep who thinks the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox outspending everyone else is a good system and to h*** with the small market teams, and the owners of the big market NHL squads who want the throw their cash around, but can't because of the salary cap.
For more details on the players proposal, Porty has a good write up over on Puck Rakers.
If both sides can find something that they can negotiate around, and hammer this out, that would be a good thing. But will someone tell me what is Don Fehr's incentive is to do that?
UPDATE: Twitter feeds are saying the NHL Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on December 5. Methinks this means the plug is getting pulled. Good by season.