Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies

Bettman, Fehr outline CBA strategies
May 31, 2012, 1:49 am
Share This Post

NEWARK, N.J. The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the NHL will be terminated in September, but thats about the only thing thats a certainty after hearing from both NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr at the Prudential Center prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Bettman addressed the media at his customary press conference prior to the start of the Cup Finals and among other things announced that the NHL broke league records with 3.3 billion in revenue in 2011-12.
The commissioner also addressed the upcoming CBA negotiations with Fehr and the NHLPA that could go one of two ways: come to an agreement prior to next season that will keep a growing league on an upsurge or result in a work stoppage that could truly cripple a league that has fully recovered from the lockout in 2004-05.
"I'm hoping something works out because labor peace is much more preferable to the alternative, said Bettman.
The commissioner said that the NHLPA has expressed interest in beginning the bargaining conversation, and thats expected to take place in the next couple of weeks. Once the Stanley Cup Finals have been completed, then both sides can push forward with informal discussions that will then lead to negotiations.
As for the scope of talks, it will include a multitude of things: Olympics involvement in the future, improvement in player safety, the player suspension appeal process and of course the player and league share of the revenue pie.
The players currently get 57 percent of the NHL revenues, which would mean close to a 70 million salary cap next season under the current CBA. There is plenty of speculation out there that the NHL wants something closer to a 5050 split of the league revenue, and the players wont be willing to grant the same 24 percent salary rollback that ended the last NHL lockout.
Dont you like me in this job? cracked Fehr when asked if the players would again agree to roll back their salaries as they did during December 2004. All I can say is that we wont make any economic proposals that the players arent aware of or dont approve of. Thats first and foremost. Secondly they recognized that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining. That is part of the backdrop that leads us into this round of negotiations along with a myriad of other factors.
Well see what happens when we get to that. I dont make predictions. Coming to mutual agreement is the goal. Hopefully thats a goal that everybody shares.
Fehr wouldnt come right out and say it, but its no secret that many NHL players werent happy about sacrificing 24 percent of their salaries, and they wont be endorsing that kind of a concession this time around.
Even if the CBA negotiations are weeks away from truly gaining steam, it appears that the first round of positioning and posturing has begun with Bettman and Fehr outlining their bargaining stances with a long summer ahead of them.