Personally, I can’t stand lockout stories. The fact that two very public, very rich groups of people can’t come to an agreement without screwing with something way bigger than any of its participants – their particular sport – irritates me, as I’m sure it does you. So, we avoid them here on this site. Nonsense, nonsense nonsense– there’s no hockey. But today, something. The lockout’s not over, but we have momentum.
The league, just a day after a story from Deadspin revealed that they had summoned a focus group to help craft their message regarding the lockout, issued a proposal to players that most believe is a massive step in the right direction. At the heart of the deal is a 50-50 revenue split between owners and players, and a full 82-game schedule, which would begin on November 2.
The deal was met with seeming optimism from union rep Donald Fehr, who will hold a conference call with players at 5 p.m. to discuss. Currently, players receive 57% of revenues.
The sticking point, it seems, will be current salaries. While Bettman says there will be no rollbacks, that’s impossible since revenues to players will decrease. Players want to at least keep current salaries for this season. But it sounds like players will have to take a pay cut, and that the league will find a way to pay them back money lost on future growth– escrow.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman explains:
I'd expect the key thing for players to discuss is what sounds like an NHL offer to "return" whatever is lost on their salaries this season. My guess: league has said if you have a long-term contract and you lose xx% this year, we will find a way to "return" it over term. What that means for players on a shorter deal, I don't know. But, my sense is NHL has at least made a proposal that should get things moving.
All of those things are reasonable and Fehr’s somewhat accepting reaction make it seem like the league has put together a good offer.
Like any negotiation, one would imagine that there will be some back-and-forth on details. But it certainly sounds like the major sticking points have all been addressed.