New Offer on the Table

nhl lockout crown royal

While I refuse to call anything the NHL and NHLPA does “progress” at this point, it’s worth noting that as of this morning the NHL has apparently submitted a new proposal with a few further concessions in an effort to end the NHL lockout. Maybe this is that “new idea” people were looking for as recently as last night.

From Bill Daly:

“In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the Union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late yesterday afternoon. We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the Union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.”

If the devil is in the details, here’s what’s being reported:

  • Make Whole - offer the same at $300 million, likely meaning the proposed term of the CBA is still 10 years and there is still an opt-out possibility at 8 years. No Earth-shattering news here.
  • Salary Variance - Up to 10%, a 5% increase from the last proposal. This prevents circumventing the salary cap with front loaded contracts that span a number of years. This is a pretty good increase and should be seen as a good step forward.
  • Contract Term Limits - Up to six years, seven if you’re dealing with your own drafted players. Up from five years recently.
  • “Amnesty Buyouts” - apparently on the table, would allow teams a one-time period prior to the 2013-14 season to buyout players with no impact to the salary cap. The money would however count against the players’ hockey related revenue share.

There’s no hiding the fact that if a deal doesn’t get done soon there isn’t going to be enough time to have a legitimate season (though some, including myself, would argue there’s no time for that already). The proposal does give a little into the NHLPA’s demands, so there is some hope that this could spark a deal. The Boston Globe is even reporting that some execs believe this offer will be a “tipping point.” Whether that’s the case obviously remains to be seen.

This move shows the NHL is likely feeling the pressure over the possibility of losing yet another season, and if Donald Fehr and company feel they can go further, there’s a good chance he may take the low road again. The other question mark is whether or not the players feel this way as well. The next few hours and days could really paint a clearer picture on what the next month or so will hold.

But while we wait, the clock is still ticking…

Loose Pucks – December 19

Bruins Loose PucksIt’s been a little quiet around here lately, mostly because there hasn’t been much going on in the hockey world, and also because blogging about a bunch of billion- and millionaires fighting amongst each other didn’t really seem worth it in light of the other events of the past week.

But in an effort to get caught up, here goes…

    • The big NHL news is obviously the NHLPA voting on whether or not to give the board of executives power to file a ‘disclaimer of interest‘. This is apparently similar to decertification that was discussed earlier this month, essentially dissolving the players’ union and opening the door for the players to file antitrust law suits against the league. This doesn’t mean the board will actually go this route, only that they will have the power to. With no meetings on the calendar, this seems like a more likely possibility.
    • Reacting to this news, the NHL promptly filed it’s own charges in New York federal court, a historically league-biased playing field. They’re claiming bad faith bargaining on behalf of the union, along with a bunch of other garbage. The catch here? Should the union decertify/go the antitrust route, the league wants all contracts to be null and void. Meaning every single player is an unrestricted free agent. This is seen as a very slippery slope, as having success in this effort could lead to mass chaos and is likely to make a good number of teams unhappy. While it’s still a long way from actually coming to pass, these filings certainly bring this into the realm of reality.
    • The latest rumor in terms of a drop dead date for the season is apparently ‘mid-January’ according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who also added that he thinks there still will be a season (as if he would say otherwise). He also added that there are more cancellations coming this week (surprise!). He’s of course still also not happy with how the union is choosing to negotiate, but I’m sure the union is saying the same about him.
    • File this under troubling, but it seems as if even Canadians are losing interest in the NHL. According to the Montreal Gazette, a poll taken by NRG Research Group between December 11th and 16th found that 58% of those polled responded that they ‘did not care’ to the question ”Do you think the NHL lockout will be settled in the next couple of weeks; in the new year in time for a shortened season to be played; not until it’s too late for games to be played this season; or don’t you care?” Not good, even worse that the league and players still don’t seem too concerned.

 

Bruins' Adam McQuaid

  • In terms of Bruins news, we start with a good, yet scary update on B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reports that McQuaid underwent multiple surgeries back in October after developing a blood clot under his collarbone. Part of what’s called ‘thoracic outlet syndrome,’ Quaider had to have an entire rib and part of his neck muscle removed as part of the procedure, though all signs are positive so far and he’s on the road to recovery. He’s still got a ways to go, but luckily the issue is taken care of and the rugged blue liner can get back to working out.
  • Next, the Bruins recently released its latest ‘Prospect Report,’ with extended write ups on Providence Bruin Ryan Spooner and London Knights forward Seth Griffith, drafted by the Bruins last year. Spooner is starting to kick into gear with 16 points in 23 games for the baby B’s, while Griffith is tearing up juniors with 58 points in 36 games, including 25 goals. A good read regarding the potential future of the team.
  • Lastly, Haggs’ also has an article on forward Jordan Caron, who’s struggling mightily in Providence. Despite spending a significant portion of last season in Boston, Caron has a measly 7 points in 25 games, and is a flat out awful -9, tied for worst on the team. If his play continues on this pace it could make the competition for a winger spot in Boston interesting, assuming the season actually starts soon.

Fail

NHL Fail

The latest shipment arrived in New York this afternoon.

Well, that didn’t take long. The latest news out of New York is that after meeting with federal mediators for the second time in as many days, the NHL and NHLPA have once again broken apart. Federal mediation will not continue at this point, so the NHL lockout continues. From Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:

“Today, we concluded two days of mediation with FMCS mediators and representatives of the NHL Players’ Association. After spending several hours with both sides over two days, the presiding mediators concluded that the parties remained far apart, and that no progress toward a resolution could be made through further mediation at this point in time. We are disappointed that the mediation process was not successful.”

No one should really be shocked by this development, as even going in, most folks “in the know” weren’t overly excited about the possibilities. With both sides deeply entrenched at this point, it’s not really a surprise that significant progress wasn’t made.

So what’s next? Well, the other report out of New York is that Commissioner Bettman made an interesting proposal to the NHLPA, a closed door meeting between owners and players only, with none of the brass from either side (Bettman, Daly, Fehrs, etc) involved. The catch so far is that not all of the owners would be invited, likely a point of discussion before the NHLPA makes a decision. In usual form, the Fehr and the players are considering the option, but no response has yet been made.

Of course the possibility of NHLPA decertification remains in play (if not more-so now), which as discussed previously would likely mean another season lost. Though with the state of negotiations currently, that may very well be the end result anyway, which could make the process worth it for the players. In 2004-05, the season wasn’t cancelled until February, but this time around there are numerous rumors of mid-January being the deadline to get something done. It’s of course speculation with another month and a half to go, but it would make sense if neither side is really committed to getting back on the ice this season without getting all of what they want, which seems is the case at the moment.

So while we continue to wait, here are a couple things for you to check out:

  • Fellow B’s blog Days of Y’Orr has a follow up to the rage against Jeremy Jacobs yesterday, if you’re interested in all the different places you can stick it to JJ and Delaware North. I have to admit, the list is longer than I expected.
  • Huffington Post has an interesting blog post about whether or not anyone really cares about the lockout, and how dumb the NHL is being by not learning lessons from past work stoppages, never mind their own.
  • Lastly, I can’t help but laugh at every statement that Bill Daly has made during this lockout, because every single one has included: “I am/We are disappointed.” We get it Bill, you’re sad. With that, we give you the new “Disappointed Daly” meme gallery. Send us yours and we’ll add them in!