Gooden-dough Up to his Old Tricks

You might think that the fact an NHL season has been lost, there’s the very real possibility of replacement players being used, there’s a good chance teams may go under and the union will lose jobs might have some effect on Goodenow – of course you’d be dead wrong.

The league met today and what they talked about has already been released. Read on for more…

…TSN, ESPN and just about everyone else is reporting that the league not only made an offer today to the NHLPA, but in fact made two offers. Let’s examine what we know (so far) about the deals.

Deal One: $37.5 million salary cap independent of revenue numbers

This deal is basically the same one that was offered on deadline day, only five million less. Unlike that offer in February, this deal was open to negotiation.

We heard PA rumblings after the February offer that they were upset there was no revenue sharing (something I agree with them on) and that they were upset there was no room for negotiation. So, with negotiation open and the chance to add revenue sharing, Bob must have been jumping to negotiate, right? Wrong. You would think the union had spent the past month – oh, I don’t know – thinking about what to do when the league made a new proposal. Well, apparently not. Rather than trying to negotiate the number up or offer a counter-proposal at (let’s say) $45 million with revenue sharing, Goodenow and the good-time gang simply took off and said they’ll think about it.

Amazing. Absolutely no sense of urgency or any desire to get a deal done. Anyways, more of my opinion to follow. Let’s look at the second option offered to the PA.

Deal Two: linkage set at 54% of revenues – whatever they might be

This is a basic linkage deal, where the players earn what the owners think (or what the PA can negotiate) is a fair share of the revenue. Basically, if the league makes two billion in revenue, the players will end up taking just over one billion of that home. Of course, I don’t think the league will end up making two billion. So, let’s set the league-wide revenue at 1.5 billion and see what this would mean to the players.

54% of 1.5 billion = $810 million

$810 million divided by 30 teams = $27 million per team

Of course, that’s the first year, let’s say that by year six of the CBA, the revenue (thanks to better marketing of teams, players being more involved, an opening up of the game to allow more scoring, rule changes to entice new fans, marketing of the game by third parties like Reebok, etc) is up to three billion, which I don’t think is too hard to imagine.

54% of 3 billion = $1 billion, 620 million.

$1.62 billion divided by 30 teams = 54 million per team

And these numbers are based on the what is no-doubt a low-ball offer from the league. The PA might be able to bump this up to as high as 60%, which would mean even more money for players.

But, of course, rather than negotiate or show interest in this offer, the PA simply said they’d consider it and “see ya soon!”.

I can’t believe that during the time away from “negotiations”, the PA made no preparations to counter any league proposal. I mean, they must have known the league would re-open negotiations with a 50-55% linkage or a cap around 35-40 million. Well, what do ya know, they offered both.

Now, if I was in the union leadership, I would have said, “hey, let’s prepare a counter-proposal based on what we know the league will offer and be ready to get right into negotiations again.” Rather than do this, they simply left the table without offering or negotiating on either of the offers.

Of course, I realize this might be part of Goodenow’s plan – waiting ‘til the last minute like he always does. Hell, it got him a ridiculous CBA the last two times around – why not try again? Well, how about because you already tried it this time around. It failed. You cost the league the season and your players (who pay you!) a year of their short careers and hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and endorsements.

The time for stall tactics is over, and the time for real negotiation is here. Okay, I accept that the leagues two offers might be a little low, but they’re open for negotiation. For the love of the game, at least negotiate or offer a counter-proposal.

If I was a player, I would be furious about this and would call for the removal of Goodenow. It’s time to get a deal done. Before the league brings in replacement players. Before the WHA opens a league with a 10 million cap. Before the fans lose even more interest in the game and in the players. Before the players have no respect whatsoever. Before many of this era’s greatest players are forced into retirement by age. Before teams like Carolina and Nashville disappear and take union jobs with them – possibly mine.

Mr. Goodenow, get real. The time for serious negotiation is now. You blew your chance at a reasonable cap in February. If I was the league I would be going for the jugular at this time – offering a $35 million cap – take it or leave it, and then bringing in replacement players if you refused. Instead they offered two fair starting points. NEGOTIATE.