NHL CBA Update: Labor Talks Continue Amid Cautious Optimism

Remember last season when we were all spending the summer wondering if Drew Doughty would sign an extension with the Kings? Then, Doughty and the Kings verbally agreed to a deal on September 29th of 2011, just prior to the start of the season. Well, I regret to inform you that the CBA is this year's Drew Doughty. Take that how you will.

In any case, welcome back to the Official Jewels From the Crown 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement Expiration Countdown blow out sale! Everything must go by September 15th to make room for a new CBA. With every purchase you get a free Trent Hunter... and so on and so forth.

When we last left our heroes, the basics of the NHL's alleged proposal leaked, some players were all like "nuh uh"; much of the Internet based hockey community lost its collective dignity; then everyone was told to calm down by a bunch of "experts," and on Wednesday the NHLPA and NHL met to discuss with little fanfare.

Read on for your tour of where things stand.

The Globe and Mail – NHL, NHLPA set to resume labour talks on Wednesday

This article recaps everything that happened up until that point.

To sum up: The NHL reportedly wants hockey related revenues for the players, per info leaked on Friday, to go from 57 to 46 percent. But NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr believes the owners and players are equal partners, and that greater revenue sharing among the teams is the real answer. So, you can assume his counter-proposal – which I just discovered is one word – won't drop below fifty percent equal sharing.

Then again, 57 to 50 percent is a steep drop when we are talking about millions upon millions of dollars. But hey, what's a couple Libertys among friends, eh?

Winging It In Motown – NHL CBA Negotiations: The "Runaway Salaries" Myth


What does "hockey related revenue" mean when it comes to player salaries and for the financials of each team? J.J. from Kansas can tell you, because he is intelligent and knows numbers and big, scary words like "escrow." The CliffsNotes version:

During the current CBA, money paid to players – salaries, bonuses, etc. – can not exceed 57 percent of hockey related revenues, a rule which was established by the owners in 2005 to prevent a franchise from "blasting" (awesome word choice) themselves into oblivion -- also known as "Rick DiPietroing." J.J. takes the owners to task for myth-making.

Puck Daddy – Could TV deals save NHL fans from prolonged labor lockout?

First of two Puck Daddy posts you should check out. Here, Wysh offers the possibility that the promise of television money could help move negotiations along. For the first time, well, ever, the NHL has a lot of money wrapped up in television contracts. Take, for example, the $2 billion deal with NBC. $2 billion! That's life changing money. NBC, CBC, TSN, HBO...these networks won't be too happy if there is a work stoppage. HBO especially. Can you imagine "24/7"? It would just be thirty minutes each week of Brian Burke listening to Toby Keith and playing with plastic army men. Or Todd Bertuzzi talking about his pogs.

Puck Daddy – Ilya Bryzgalov on CBA salary rollbacks, Claude Giroux's fear of Russia and the Universe

The second post concerns an interview by Dmitry Chesnokov with Ilya Bryzgalov. The hidden fear in the lockout drama is a scenario in which NHL players bolt for other leagues like 2004-05. When asked if he would play in Russia, Bryz responds:

"I will. But I wouldn't talk for everyone. Some players like Switzerland, Germany ..."

Oh, I hear Switzerland is beautiful that time of year. Regardless, let us hope it does not get to this point because we could permanently lose such wonderful characters like Bryz. That's a sad day, folks, and I don't want you to have to experience it.

ESPN: NHL labor talks resume as players ponder league's proposal

Finally, the NHL and NHLPA met Wednesday to go over the specifics of the NHL's first proposal. It does not appear the NHLPA countered this offer, and we assume they will meet again soon. And here is something encouraging, from Vancouver Canuck Manny Malhotra:

"[The NHL's proposal] wasn't very shocking," Malhotra said. "It was no surprise. I think the union as a whole, we're in far better shape than we were in the past – the unity that we have, the education we have as a whole, and the way that information is being passed around. So I guess there's a general sense of...no one really flew off the handle. No one got too wrapped up emotionally. We knew it was coming."

That pretty much speaks for itself. If the players can communicate with each other in a friendly manner, why can't Fehr and Bettman? It so magical. Maybe one day we will see Shane Doan and Dustin Brown push aside their differences and embrace in a giant bear hug. Oh children, it'll be glorious.

Globe and Mail: Why NHL teams cry poor despite the league's record growth

Mirtle calls the current state of struggling NHL teams "an owner versus owner problem more than it is an owner versus player one" and breaks down the financial situation of the haves and have nots.

Where the league is suffering and why we may have yet another lockout (the third under Bettman) is (a) the bottom 10 teams have revenues so low they can’t cover their expenses and (b) those at the top have little intention of helping them do so more than they already are.

Players accepted a hard cap back in 2005. But wealthy owners are not going to like sharing more revenue, so it seems they'll go after the players' share instead. Some teams will still lose money regardless. The players don't like this.

So where are we now?

Somewhere. More specifically? In the negotiation stage.

If the NFL or NBA labor disputes of a year ago are any indication, this is all building to an impasse in the blasting(!) of cannon fodder that is pre-negotiating, where both sides start to get publicly upset with each other. At that point, we can worry; but this is also the time when the two groups are openly sitting down together and trying to get a deal worked out.

Will they be able to tweak the old CBA, or are the problems bigger than that? Will greater revenue sharing even be on the table? What say you, oh button-down Kings fan with your cap-friendly players and sensible franchise management?