As you know by now, today was not a good day, as Executive Director Donald Fehr said during his news conference.
For Fehr’s presser and for Commissioner Gary Bettman’s presser, go to www.tsn.ca/nhl and they’re on there.
The NHL rejected three union proposals today in mere minutes. Fehr said the first one gets to 50-50 by Year 3, the second by Year 5, although I talked to a plugged in league source that said only the second one came close in Year 5.
The third one, Fehr said, offers to split revenues immediately providing the owners honor the contracts they mutually agreed with the players. Understandable, although I’m not sure how that’s done without escrow.
Regardless, Fehr admitted he didn’t run the numbers and I’m told by a league source it was not a formal proposal and was instead discussed out loud in complicated fashion and not as 50-50.
More on that later, but I did talk to a “depressed” Zach Parise, who obviously wants to be playing like his teammates and is getting fed up. He’s been outspoken throughout the process but today called the NHL’s Tuesday proposal a “publicity stunt” to get the media and fans side.
He questions the owners desire to want to negotiate, especially when they could dismiss three proposals in 10 minutes today and just walk out of the room and fly away in an hour.
“Something is not right there,” the Wild’s Zach Parise said. “It’s confusing. All these owners, maybe this was their plan the whole time, to sign all these guys to these big contracts knowing full well they’re not going to pay the value of them. To me, that doesn’t sound like good-faith negotiating, yet they keep preaching it.”
Parise said he was talking about the flood of long-term deals inked hours before last month’s lockout (I believe $200 million worth) and not “singling out” Wild owner Craig Leipold, who signed Parise and Ryan Suter each to 13-year, $98 million contracts July 4 and has already paid them $10 million signing bonuses each.
Leipold was in the room today and behind Bettman when he spoke in his presser
“You have all these owners signing big deals minutes before the CBA expires and then going the next day, ‘We don’t want to pay these contracts,” Parise said. “Maybe that’s how they conduct business. That just doesn’t seem right. What if us players signed a deal and said, ‘You know what, I actually want 15 percent more?’”
Scores of players, including the Wild’s Devin Setoguchi, took to Twitter to criticize owners for turning down a 50-50 offer as long as contracts are honored.
However, again, the league contests this fact and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly put out a statement, saying,
“The so called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players’ Association earlier today is being misrepresented. It is not a 50-50 deal. It is, most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement. The proposal contemplates paying the Players approximately $650 million outside of the Players’ Share. In effect, the Union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say ‘50-50,’ when in reality it is not. The Union told us that they had not yet ‘run the numbers.’ We did.”
Also, according to a source, the union’s first two proposals call for owners to pay players 55.5 percent in Year One, or more than $1.9 billion. Last season, players received $1.883 billion. Fehr said the first two proposals get to 50-50 by Year 3 and 5, respectively, although the league source disagreed.
Bettman said the two sides were speaking different languages, took a “step backward” Thursday and the next step will be cancelling games and signature events, like the Winter Classic, if the sides can’t close the gulf.
“I’m obviously very discouraged,” Bettman said.
Bettman had said if a deal can be reached by Oct. 25, training camp could start Oct. 26 and a full 82-game season could begin Nov. 2. Now, that seems unlikely.
Other than contracting rights, Fehr says players will lose $1.65 billion over the six years of the NHL proposal.
Well, they’ll lose roughly that much if they don’t play this season.
Asked what the player’s end game is considering it doesn’t seem the owners are buckling and players could potentially lose 100% of their salaries, Parise said, “I know what you’re saying, but tou want to do what’s right for every other player in the long run and for players that are going to be in the league after we’re done as well. You do have to sacrifice things.
“Trust me, we all would love to be playing right now. It’s not fair to the fans right now what is happening. But you have to fight for what’s right.”
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