The NHL today offered up a CBA that divides HRR evenly between the league and union and eliminates the salary rollback provision they had initially asked for. Does the NHLPA still lose under this compromise? Yes, it does because right now it gets 57% of HRR, but to be perfectly honest, at this moment in time there is no HRR so the players are getting 0% of $0, which, let me do the math – *counting on fingers*, carry the one – comes out to nothing. Squat. Zip. Zilch.
So should the PA accept this?
There will not be a better offer on the table from the NHL than this one. I admit to being a little bit surprised that the league relented on so many of its earlier demands. What's the reason? Were they stupidly starting with a position so ridiculous that they just wanted to offend the other side? Or did the 20 owners who never wanted this lockout to begin with finally throw their weight around and threaten to end Bettman's tenure as commissioner? We may never know, but the one thing that I can say is that they have given up a lot from that earlier "offer", and even the more moderate owners probably don't want to give up even an inch more.
The union should accept this offer because they aren't going to get a better one. Accept this one and you get paid in full for this season because the offer preserves an 82-game season. That means those lost paychecks due to the lockout aren't lost anymore. Shoot this one down and you have immediately lost the PR war permanently. No hockey fan is going to accept that you couldn't live under this CBA that doesn't cut your salaries at all. The general public, still enduring the worst economic times in a generation, should not tolerate that a bunch of millionaires aren't happy about losing a few percentage points from billions of dollars in income when a lot of us are worried about where our next meal is coming from or how to get medicine for our kids.
I said from the start that if this lockout went more than a couple of weeks I thought the NHL would cease to exist as we have known it. It's a month old, but it really only meant anything when regular season games started to disappear. Here we are, nearly one week into what would have been the 2013 NHL season and the league has made what appears to be a fair compromise. If the players do not vote to accept this offer I can't see them accepting really anything other than the current system, and if that's the case we may not see hockey for a couple of seasons, and in that case, I think the NHL will be done (not to mention the fact that these players will NEVER make back for themselves the millions of dollars lost to a season-long lockout).
The NHLPA MUST accept this CBA proposal, or the future of North American professional hockey is very much in doubt.
And I say all this, knowing that if the league opens on November 2 I'm going to miss the Kings' banner-raising, which makes me quite sad! Nevertheless, players, accept the proposal. And if Fehr tells you otherwise, fire him.