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NHL players on hand for union’s response to league
Question of the Day
But the clock is ticking. There is only one week to strike a deal for the season to start by Nov. 2, three weeks behind schedule. If those deadlines are met, teams would be able to hold makeshift training camps for one week, and then play one extra game every five weeks to make up for the lost time and complete a full slate.
In releasing the details, the NHL confirmed the offer is for six years with a mutual option for a seventh. The plan includes a 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue, which is a step forward. The NHL had proposed in July to cut the percentage of HRR from 57 percent to 43, then increased its offer in September to about 47.
“There’s a lot of parts of the proposal that we don’t feel are very good from our standpoint and we’re still giving up huge concessions in a lot of different areas,” Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd said, according to The Canadian Press. “We’ll address that in our proposal and go from there.”
Management included a provision to ensure players receive all money promised in existing contracts, but the union is concerned with what management termed the “make-whole provision.” If the players’ share falls short of their $1.883 billion in 2011-12, the players would be paid up to $149 million of deferred compensation in the first year of a new deal and up to $62 million in the second. However, the union believes that money would be counted against the players’ share in later years.
The latest proposal also includes:
_ A listed salary cap of $59.9 million for the 2012-13 season, with a provision each team could spend up to $70.2 million during a transition season.
_ Changing eligibility for unrestricted free agency from age 27 or seven years of service to age 28 or eight years of service, down from 10 years of service in the league’s earlier proposal.
_ Increasing eligibility for salary arbitration from four years to five years.
_ Including all years of existing contracts beyond five years against a team’s cap, regardless of where a player is playing. If a player is traded and retires or stops playing, the applicable cap charge would be applied against the team that originally signed the contact.
_ The reduction of entry-level contracts to two years.
_ A term limit of five years on any contract beyond and a stipulation that the average annual value can only vary up to 5 percent. This mechanism is designed to eliminate long-term, back-loaded contracts. The NHL wants to prohibit lengthy deals, such as the $98 million, 13-year contracts Minnesota agreed to in July with forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.
_ The elimination of re-entry waivers.
_ Increasing the annual revenue sharing pool by 33 percent to $200 million, assuming annual league revenue of $3.033 billion, with a provision that half the pool be funded by the 10 teams with the highest gross revenue. A cutout against clubs in large media markets, such as Anaheim, New Jersey and the New York Islanders, and clawbacks against not selling enough tickets would be eliminated. A new revenue sharing committee, which would include NHLPA representation, would have input to determine distribution.
Among the items not addressed in the league’s public detailing of its offer was realignment, drug testing or the NHL’s participation in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
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