Hockey Critic

Bettman and Goodenow to meet on union's latest offer

This week NHL commish Gary Bettman and players association boss Bob Goodenow will have their first substantive meeting since talks broke off in September. The million dollar question is not what they'll have for lunch when they meet in Toronto, but what will result from this hastily put together meeting. Many hockey commentators are giddy with the hope that a deal is just around the corner as time is running out before the 2004-05 NHL season becomes a write-off. Other are much more skeptical, pointing out that the NHLPA proposal is going to be a "tweak" of the earlier offer - an offer that was summarily dismissed by the owners. So far the two sides have simply negotiated to give the impression that they aren't just sitting on their rear ends. I have to wonder if this is any different; is this a PR exercise or an attempt to get somewhere?

Bottom line for fans is that these proposals and counter-proposals are not going to do much unless the two sides decide to give up their respective hard-line positions. No players association has voluntarily accepted a hard salary cap and the NHLPA won't be the first - not unless it is broken and the chances of that happening are slim. The NHL is the only major sports league without any type of salary cap/luxury tax system in place. With future revenue streams looking bleak at best, the owners need some way of saving themselves from each other so that they stop the long standing practice of overpaying for hockey talent.

In my opinion the first step in controlling costs would be to institute some sort of a luxury tax system. The tax must have some teeth and should be accompanied with a revenue sharing system. There is also some room to control salaries through other means, including a graded rookie salary system, overhauling arbitration, and more two-way contracts. Apart from that the two sides need to put their heads together at how to grow the game. The biggest problem facing them is the waning interest in hockey - an apathetic attitude that could cost them a whole lot more in the future.
posted at 21:50:31 on 12/07/04 by HockeyCritic - Category: Hockey Talk


HockeyCritic wrote:

Here is the gist of the NHLPA's proposal.

- A 24% cut in player salaries on all current contracts.

- Institute a rookie max of $850,000 and add more constraints within the arbitration process.

- Add a luxury tax that kicks in at 20 cents on the dollar for salaries over $45 million, 50 cents for salaries between $50 - $60 million and 60 cents for the dollar for teams with salaries over $60 million per year.
12/13/04 22:57:25

HockeyCritic wrote:

The NHL rejected the players' proposal and put forward a counter-proposal or their own, which was summarily dismissed by the players association. Back to square one.
12/19/04 22:59:47

Hockey Critic

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