NHL CBA Update
By Stephen London
The NHL Players Association and the NHL executives continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement for the coming season. The current CBA is set to expire Sept. 15. The NHL executives proposed the first and only proposal on July 13. The proposal consisted of several concessions the NHLPA would have to accept, which include:
• Reduce the NHLPA's revenue-sharing percentage, from 57 percent to 43 percent
• Eliminate signing bonuses
• Eliminate front-loading or back-loading contracts
• Add more rules and restrictions for entry-level contracts
• Eliminate salary arbitration
The NHLPA requested to see independently audited financial statements of all 30 NHL clubs. The first group of 76,000 pages of financial reports arrived at the NHLPA offices Aug. 5. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had some interesting things to say about the information request.
"With the respect to the general financial condition of the clubs, it's something they've had access to and known about for a long time," Daly said, according to published reports. "And in fact, if this was a real concern for the players' association, we would have expected to get a request before July 13."
Daly might be right in terms of the amount of time it takes to review such financial statements, especially when there are 30 clubs to review as well as a September deadline. But Daly should have known the NHLPA asked for the financial documents on July 13 because that was the date the NHL executives proposed the previously mentioned concessions.
Los Angeles Kings forward Kevin Westgarth has said: "[They] want us to give back 24 percent of our salaries. If your boss came to you and said that, then I don't think you'd do it without asking to see his books and see if what he's telling you is reasonable."
The NHLPA will have to review these financial statements quickly in order for a new CBA to be signed before the Sept. 15th deadline. But the NHLPA's executive director, Don Fehr, has said the players might be willing to start the coming season with the current CBA in effect while negotiations continue.
Fehr's statement shows the players' willingness to make this situation work. If the owners were to lock out the players Sept. 15, it would be the unwillingness of the NHL executives putting the NHL season in jeopardy.
As of now, both sides continue to talk, and the NHLPA continues to review the financial statements as well as poll the players to see what is most important to them. The talks during the month of August could make or break the NHL season.
Posted Aug. 6, 2012