The NHLPA's CBA proposal, made public in bits on Tuesday afternoon, was heralded as a compromise that could save hockey from another painful lockout next month. The players are willing to give back money to the league and they're willing to do it in a substantial way over the next three seasons.
They're also asking that the league throw a bone to the 18 to 20 "poor" teams in the league -- the teams that operated at losses in 2011 -- via a more robust revenue sharing program. The catch is that in Year 4 of this collective bargaining agreement, the players would have the opportunity to revert back to the current CBA in which they earn 57 percent of hockey-related revenue. It's a compromise, right?
Well, maybe not. In the smartest bit of writing that's hit the series of tubes since details of the players' proposal came to light, Michael Grange at Sportsnet.ca illustrates the still-meaningful gulf -- to use Donald Fehr's own term from a week ago -- between the league and its players' union.
The players' proposal calls for small raises above the $1.87 billion the players' received last season -- two percent next year, four percent in 2013-14 and six percent in 2014-15. But with league revenues projected to continue growing at a much higher rate -- at least seven percent per year over the next three years, if not more -- the owners will pull in a ton of money that they'd otherwise owe the players under the current system.
But as Grange describes, the players are still going to get a considerable amount of money under their proposal, even though it seems like they're giving up a ton of cash. That's where the gulf between the owners' initial proposal and the players' Tuesday proposal floats.
Put another way, the owners' plan would give the players 43.3 per cent of HRR, rolling salaries back by 24 per cent immediately. The players' proposal would get the players about 54.4 per cent of HRR and allow them to keep every cent that's in their current contracts.
The NHLPA's proposal is clever and it's outside-the-box and it's an absolute public relations win, but the league and its players are still very far off in terms of how they see their share of revenue being broken up. Will we end up at around a 50/50 split when all things are said and done? Perhaps. After all, this is just a proposal, and we don't expect the league to accept it without amendment.
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