We’ve seen the first set of Ownership demands for the CBA and they are:
- 10 Years until UFA status.
- 5 year entry level contracts instead of the current 3
- No arbitration of contracts instead of arbitration after the second contract
- 46% revenue to the players
- 5 Year maximum on contracts
If this actually represents a hardline or even a near approximation of what the owners really want, this will be trouble. There will be a labor stoppage. The season will not get started on time at best. If the more than 25% of the season is gone before negotiations succeed the league will either be forced to contract or take over three or four additional franchises.
Some of these shouldn’t even be CBA issues. If a team wants to give out lifetime contracts such as Rick Dipietro’s or Sidney Crosby’s, that’s their lookout. If an owner doesn’t want to give out contracts over a certain number of years they should be prepared to accept their players walking. If they want players to stick around that’s pretty simple too: having a winning environment, don’t tolerate idiots at the controls, and don’t be a butthead to your players either in person or via the media.
I’ve spent years in sales, negotiated contracts, hell I’ve written them from scratch and this is silly. Low balling your opposite number is a time honored tradition. But low balling someone and spitting in their faces are two different things. I’m sure the ownership group believes this is a Churchill like pose of defiance and strength, it comes across more like Montgomery Burns or Yosemite Sam.
Did the owners learn nothing from watching the recent NFL labor dispute? The players have more sex appeal, more cache, are better loved, and are the backbone of the product. Fans will side with them. This isn’t the NBA where everyone makes a couple million a year and the biggest danger is having your opponent sweat on you. The NHL players risk their lives and safety every shift. Tyler Seguin, Carey Price and Corey Perry are going to draw much, much more sympathy from fans than Jeremy Jacobs, Geoff Molson, and Henry Samueli, that’s just the way it is.
Before we all panic and start looking for fall entertainment that doesn’t involve NHL hockey, I honestly believe this is just a (completely moronic) opening position.