NHLPA Rejects Yet Another Offer From NHL
Breaking news (or not so breaking news for fed-up and tired hockey fans) the NHLPA has quickly rejected yet another offer from the NHL today as the two sides met in secret.
This rejection by the NHLPA comes as the LA Times is reporting Gary Bettman will set a drop dead date for the season and a CBA deal of this coming Monday or Tuesday. People who study labor conflicts suggest a drop dead date is long overdue for the NHLPA – giving them reason to either do a deal or start talking about next year.
For me the curious part of today’s action is the idea that the NHLPA is making the NHL’s case as to why there should be an impasse. Historical odds according to another TSN.ca story are at 50% with the NHL getting a favorable labor decision. Major League Baseball wasn’t as lucky. The NHLPA’s actions help Gary Bettman make his case for why the union isn’t negotiating in good faith and the league is – even if it is all window dressing, that might be all that matters.
I say it again – the players are truly fighting a losing battle. Their deal will not get much better than it does right now. If they feel they can do better in Europe and have no alliance to the NHL then NHL owners will kiss them good bye. Players like Brett Hull and Daniel Alfredson have recently said the NHL should just cancel the season. Do they know what they are suggesting? Are they that ignorant (anyone who has heard Bill Guerin speak on the topic would say YES)? Possibly so. The league will suffer a MAJOR hit by canceling the season. If they have lost 20% of their fans now, they will lose 40% in the event they can drop the puck next year. What the players don’t seem to get through their Jofas is – the deal doesn’t get any better than this. Their fearless union leader it guaranteeing that the ONLY market they can earn the big bucks in is about to be smaller by upwards of 40 to 50% thus guaranteeing them smaller contracts in the future. He is also going to end up voiding all of the current contracts.
The league doesn’t need all of the NHLPA players. There are plenty of kids that are willing to play RIGHT NOW and they are good. For every aging Brett Hull I can give you a Ladislav Nagy who wants his job and money. For every Daniel Alfredson there is a Jason Spezza who wants to make his $800,000 per year and then some in the NHL. The GLARING mistake the NHLPA is making is to think their players are the product. Leafs fans root for the leafs with or without Belfor, Sundin and Gary Roberts. Flyers fans bleed orange and black. Detroit fans don’t organize rallies to bring Federov back to the Motor City. They root for their teams. The jersiesy on their backs NOT the greed players.
Please note all you nay sayers – this is NOT NOT NOT OVER. A drop dead date is a very helpful thing to get down to the last part of this foolish negotiation. Do not be surprised to see the sides stay in TO to work on a deal until the very end. I will predict that the NHL leaks the exact dates of the proposed schedule that they have been working on to show the fans and the players JUST what they are missing out on. The players have EVERYTHING to lose if they can’t ink a deal. The NHL has the support of the fans and if the union doesn’t get some level of a deal done by next week, they will be done as a labor group. Bettman will break them although I am not one who believes that was his goal all along. I believe he needed his cap and was willing to compromise on everything else – and has. It is Bob Goodenow who wont compromise on a cap despite the fact that the last time Bettman gave into the NHLPA his teams lost a reported $250,000,000 over 10 years. Why should he cave now when the NFL is the model to copy?
Hold out hope!
PS: no word from the blogger yet on this. Will be interesting to see what he has to say about this stage of the deal.