PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (L) speaks with Co-Owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
We're now just three days away from the darkest day in the NHL, and the NHL and NHLPA are no closer to a deal than they were three weeks ago. After a scheduled meeting prior to today's NHLPA player meeting, the NHL and NHLPA exchanged proposal's , and there was some optimism being seen from a fans perspective. However, as always, when there appears to be positives, it always gets shot down almost immediately.
Donald Fehr met with the media for his second go-around for the day, and practically shot down every piece the NHL put forth in their latest offer. While the NHL did make some minor concessions in terms of revenue splits, and how hockey related revenue was defined, there wasn't much changed. The NHL countered with a six-year offer that had the players starting out with 49% of the shares in the first year, while slowly decreasing back down to 47% by the end of the agreement. However, as I stated earlier, they also agreed to revert the definition of hockey related revenue back to it's current state.
While that may be a huge step, the financial terms are still not satisfying to the players, and the sides are still quite a ways apart.
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Want to know the main reasoning behind the failed negotiations thus far? Neither side is willing to base their counter-proposals off of the other sides offer. Whenever the NHL counters, it's always based on their previous offers, and never off of what the NHLPA is seeking. And the same goes for the NHLPA as well.
They are both seeing the world from their own points of view, and are not looking at it from different perspectives. Each side wants a different piece of the pie, and neither is willing to voyage beyond their own offers. If you want to agree on a deal, and a fair one at that, they need to be looking at the proposals from both sides of the fence.
In addition, as Donald Fehr pointed out, there is a lack of ownership representation during these meetings. Only a maximum of four owners have been allowed behind closed doors, meanwhile any player is permitted from the NHLPA's standpoint. How do you expect to come to a conclusion, when there are only a handful of owners from around the league present for these meetings?
Both of these combined make for bad negotiations, no matter what situation you are in. In the end, the fans that make this league run are paying the ultimate price once again. Unless there is a drastic change within the next 48 hours, we're likely heading into yet another lockout, and for quite a while.