Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner has been skating in Calgary to stay in shape during the NHL lockout. Tuesday brought some different emotions as he and others came off the ice to discover that the owners gave the NHLPA a new proposal that includes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue.
The offer immediately became the buzz.
“You can kind of see a lot of peoples’ spirits are lifted by this,” Alzner said.
Alzner said in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon that he was “thrilled to see a legitimate proposal, one that’s, in my opinion, more realistic than at least [the owners’] starting offer.”
Indeed it seems like significant movement even from the league’s offer a few days before the lockout began Sept. 15. Details are not a hundred percent clear, but Sportsnet in Canada reported that contracts would be capped at five years, arbitration would still exist and teams would no longer be able to stash big deals in the American Hockey League.
The 50-50 split of revenues was the big thing that came out of the proposal. But it’s not the end-all, be all.”
“Fifty-fifty is just a number, just a percentage point. You’ve got to look at the details of it and if anything has been changed in terms of HRR definitions and all the other stuff that still is big in terms of free agency, arbitration, all that stuff,” Alzner said. “Fifty-fifty is just a number. There’s still a heck of a lot more that we need to know about.”
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr was scheduled to brief his executive and negotiating committees on a conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern.
“I don’t know what the next step is, but seeing if that’s a good offer, whatever the details of it are and go from there,” Alzner said. “You get your hopes up a little bit, but there’s still work to be done. And hopefully it can get done quick.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said this offer was contingent on salvaging an 82-game season beginning Nov. 2. It’s unclear whether a deal could be agreed to that quickly, but it would mean an abbreviated training camp, which Alzner said would not be a concern.
Neither would the travel schedule, which could be arduous to get 82 games in.
“The travel would be, in my opinion, the least of our worries. I think squeezing in an extra game every five weeks, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot,” Alzner said. “I think it’s similar to what a schedule would be like if there was an Olympics going on. You kind of jam a few more games in there and it’s not ideal, but it’s not an issue.”