Much noise was made yesterday about the owners initial proposal to the NHLPA to kick off the negotiations towards a new CBA for the 2012 season and onwards. There are many talking points during these negotiations, and each side will need to come to an agreement on each before these negotiations will finish.
The important aspect to realize about the next few months is that this is a long process. Each side will present what they want, and then they will negotiate until they agree on something in the middle. Any offers made now, including the owners offer below, are just steps toward meeting in the middle. Per Renaud Lavoie, the demands focused on five key areas:
1-reduce players hockey related revenues to 46% from 57 %. 2-10 seasons in NHL before being UFA. 3-contracts limites to 5 years 4-no more salary arbitration. 5- entry-level contract 5 years instead of 3.
The item that seemed to strike a nerve with many is the first item regarding revenues. That is an 11% drop in the current revenue share, and something the players will not agree to. Everything is about money, but this first steps is simply a negotiating tactic.
Let’s think about this logically. If your goal is a 50/50 split of revenues, would you lead off the negotiations with the 50/50 split?
You would not, you would start it lower in your favor, and then you would negotiate to meet in the middle, closer to your overall goal of 50/50. It’s Negotiations 101, you have what you are looking for, and you start the process by asking for more to make it seem like you are moving from your initial demands.
Based on that tactic, expect the NHLPA to propose something equally outrageous and one-sided next week. It’s just part of the process. There are still two months left before the current CBA expires, and an additional two weeks before the season starts. There’s no reason to panic about the sides “being far apart.” If the sides are this far apart in September, then it’s time to panic.