Today's CBA update will be coming in bullet point style since there's so much to sift through and go over. And I like this format for things like this because I think it organizes it a little better. Anyway, on we go:
- We should start with what's on the table right now. In a day filled with back-and-forth negotiations, including a two hour period where twitter lost its mind over a podium, here's what has leaked: Apparently the NHL wants a 10-year CBA (rumors are this contains an opt out clause in year eight) and wants to keep max contracts at five years. Those two issues saw no movement from either side. The NHL did, however, leave arbitration and UFA status alone. They also increased the make whole total to $300 million, and allowed for teams to sign their own free agents for seven years.
- A quick note on the make whole increase, $50 million of that money is for player pensions, although it doesn't come out of their share. So the actual increase is from $211 million to $250 million. Still, the NHL has already moved in the player's direction on this and revenue sharing, so it might be enough to get a deal done.
- Now, talks got animated at times yesterday, and that's OK. You would expect the conversation to get amped up a bit. We're dangerously close to a new CBA, both sides are thisclose and both sides want a deal done now. I agree with the talking heads and those in the know: Even if today or Friday doesn't yield a deal, we're too close to not have a season at this point.
- There's a lot of talk about whether or not the NHLPA should accept a 10-year CBA, something Donald Fehr has been against from the beginning. Fehr believes a five-year deal is more acceptable, but the reality of the situation is that -- to this point -- all CBA negotiations have lead to a lockout. Why give the owners a chance to dig back into the NHLPA's pockets? Plus, if there is an out clause after eight years, the players can use it. Just saying, the sport can't handle this in another five years. It simply can't.
- There are still some major issues on the table, and Thursday's talks are thought to be critical -- sound familiar? Both sides are frustrated, but both sides are still committed to moving forward. That's a good thing, beause we're talking about a shortened season already. I was sure we would see 60+ games but apparently we're looking at around 56 or so games, including a two-week training camp (which I think is needed). We'll see, but a lot depends on when (or if for the negative ones out there) a deal is struck.
- There was an interesting rumor that leaked yesterday that caused quite a stir. Apparently some coaches were calling their players playing in Europe and telling them to be ready for a December 14th start to training camp. Shortly after, another rumor came out that the NHL was telling teams to stop informing player of a return date. I don't have much to add here, and it was never fully confirmed as far as I know, I just thought it was interesting.
- This is a fair warning from me to you today. Don't hang on today's negotiations like a play-by-play broadcast. We're close enough to a deal that we're going to see a few explosions. It's OK, it's part of the process (I hope). By the way, I tell you all this with my own understanding that I'm not going to follow my own advise.