NHLPA biding time until counter-offer is ready

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NHLPA biding time until counter-offer is ready

Its been two weeks since the NHL unloaded the first CBA proposal onto the NHLPA and the rest of an unsuspecting hockey world, and made the statement that the two sides are indeed very far apart on terms, revenue shares and nearly every major sticking point.
The NHLPA and Executive Director Donald Fehr have pored through the document, asked their questions and come to harmonious agreement on some of the minor points below the surface.
But make no mistake about it: the biggest point of contention will be the percentage split of hockey-related revenue and where the players will ultimately go from their current 57 percent haul of revenue.
Its expected the league wants to eventually land at a 5050 split with the players that will ultimately lower the salary cap ceiling from the expected 70 million limit for each team next season. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in the balance of which side wins the negotiating battle, and its that large pile of cash that will make the CBA talks painful before its over.
But through it all, the NHLPA has acted coolly and rationally where they might have once flown off the handle in a rage.
"They have asked for a reduction in the players' share," said Fehr to reporters. We indicated that here is some further information that we've requested.
Instead the NHLPA is sitting, waiting and taking measure of which way the wind is blowing before releasing its own counter-proposal. One would expect that counter-move is coming sooner rather than later, and that its going to include creative ideas about revenue sharing.
After all, Fehr is the same union head that oversaw the change to a soft salary cap in Major League Baseball that essentially boils down to a luxury tax with heavy revenue sharing controls. The New York Yankees spend like drunken sailors and poverty-stricken teams like the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates end up the beneficiaries of the extra funds.
Fehr and the NHLPA have designs on something similar in the NHL where teams like the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs have seemingly endless reserves of cash they could call upon when needed. That would make things more manageable for teams like the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes that are facing economic difficulties. That system could help the struggling small market franchises that are driving the owners to a we are losing money argument despite a record 3.3 billion in revenues last season.
But it would also be a large departure for teams like New York, Toronto, Chicago and Boston that dont want to bankroll the rest of the league based on their own successful business models. Its not the business that any owners signed up for when they joined the NHL, but it might just be the best solution to get everybody what theyre seeking.
One thing that proposal will do: get the small market and big market NHL owners fighting among each other given the very different situations theyre each facing.
Its the kind of divide-and-conquer philosophy Gary Bettman has long used to break the backs of the players union during CBA negotiations, and now it would appear that Fehr is working that same side of the street.
The NHLPA has been thoughtful, diligent, understanding and deliberate in each move theyve made thus far this summer, but a big move is coming from them sooner or later. The contents of their upcoming counter-proposal will tell a great many things: how far apart the owners and players truly seem to be right now, what is most important to the players and just how many games hockey fans can expect to miss when the NHL gets started late this season.
Its trending toward a short-ish work stoppage being a definite rather than a simple possibility at this point.
But any work stoppage be it ending the day after Thanksgiving or on New Years Day along with the Winter Classic -- will ultimately be decided by the men armed in briefcases that hold hockeys fate in their very complex business models.

Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

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Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.

*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.

*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.

*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.

*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.

*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.  

*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.  

 

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

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Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

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Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.