Tuesday, December 14, 2004

NHL rejects NHLPA offer

Based on an eight-page memorandum the NHL has sent to all teams, mysteriously obtained by TSN, the NHL has rejected the NHLPA offer and is poised to issue its own counter-offer at a 1 pm meeting with the NHLPA on Tuesday. The memo reads:
"In sum, we believe the Union's December 9 CBA proposal, while offering necessary and significant short-term financial relief, falls well short of providing the fundamental systemic changes that are required to ensure that overall League economics remain in synch on a going-forward basis. While the immediate 'rollback' of 24 per cent offered by the Union would materially improve League economics for the 2004-05 season, there is virtually nothing in the Union's proposal that would prevent the dollars 'saved' from being re-directed right back into the player compensation system, such that the League's overall financial losses would approach current levels in only a matter of a couple of years."
The memo follows that the NHL counter-offer "will be an appropriate response to the Union's offer and will ensure the League's future stability and long-term health." This means player salaries directly tied to revenue, in the form of a salary cap or by some other means. The NHLA would not comment on the leaked memo, which goes on to say:
"We believe the Union's offer was more about trying to unify the players and ensure player solidarity with what they would perceive as a very substantial proposal than it was about making a good faith effort to reach agreement us...The Union needed the 'rallying point' that it felt this offer would provide with the players to effectuate this strategy. Under this scenario, the Union will likely (and quickly) break off negotiations."
A reaction to the 24% rollback followed:
"...(while) the Union's offer in this regard was significant in the same approximate range of magnitude that will be necessary, we believe the 'rollback' should be structured among the players in a more equitable manner than the Union's current proposal envisions."
A reaction to the luxury tax system:

"...the Union's actual proposal on Thursday demonstrated its continuing objective to avoid at all costs placing meaningful restraints on a Club's ability to spend excessively on player salaries...we remain firmly opposed to any new economic system that is premused on salary restraints encouraged by a luxury tax...The League's economic problems are too significant, and the future success of this sport too important, to accept a system based on projections and guesswork, particularly when we believe that the underlying dynamics of operating af team will not have been addressed."

There were other reactions to specific points of the NHLPA offer, but the above two were the main ones in play. So basically don't expect NHL hockey for a long, long time. No more analysis is needed.


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