The NHL made shockwaves Tuesday when they went against the grain and offered a new CBA proposal with the hopes of moving the current CBA negotiations along.
The NHLPA didn't have much to say on Tuesday (which was expected), although Donald Fehr did speak with the Union during the late afternoon to briefly go over the NHL's proposal. Fehr indicated that the NHLPA would respond either Wednesday or Thursday, but certianly sooner rather than later. New reports -- which surfaced late Tuesday night -- have suggested that the players had a bunch of questions about the new offer, so the NHLPA expects to respond on Thursday.
And that's OK. This was never an offer that the NHLPA was going to take from the get-go. There are a bunch of secondary issues which need to be negotiated, and I'm sure the players are going to try and get an extra percent or two off of the owners as well.
But we're not going to know anything until Thursday. If the NHLPA negotiates off of the NHL's offer then you know the two sides have made some truly significant process. That remains to be seen, but all indications seem to point in a positive direction.
The fact of the matter is, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out. Here's a few of them according to reports:
- The players don't like the two-year ELC figures, along with the five-year maximum contracts and the extra year of service and age before UFA status.
- The players want more information of the definition of HRR. It was originally reported that it was exactly the same as the las CBA, but new reports claim it's a little different. The player's will speak with the owners today to figure out the exact figures.
- How the contracts will be protected will be another talking point, but how big of a part remains to be seen.
I'm sure there's a few more. Again, that's OK. So long as Fehr and the players negotiate off this offer, we're moving in the right direction.
I said it before, I'll say it again. Give Gary Bettman and the owners some credit here. They didn't need to make the next move, but they did. They realized the players had a right (and a cause) to be skeptical, so they made the next move in an attempt to show that they can give as well.
If nothing else, this offer should move thing forward. But I will say that if the NHLPA rejects this offer outright, then we won't see hockey this year at all. Call it a hunch, but there's no way Bettman and the owners will take kindly to the NHLPA turning up their nose to a legitimate offer that the NHL didn't have to make.
By the same token, this offer truly does put the ball into the player's court. Even if the deal doesn't include as much revenue sharing as Fehr would want (the proposed offer has $200-million, the Union asked for $250-million), it's still a step in the right direction. I can't see Fehr rejecting the offer, too many players like the direction of the offer, but I do expect some counter offer on Thursday.
And that's OK, so long as the counter is off the NHL's offer.
We'll know more as time goes on, though. For now, thoughts, guys?