Originally written on On the Duck Pond  |  Last updated 12/29/12
Don't believe everything you hear when it comes to the NHL, especially when it comes to hills they will die on.  Or maybe not.... Bill Daly swore up and down that five year contracts for players were it.  Period.  Not going to yield or change his mind.  Usually it is a woman's perogative to change her mind.  Daly is allowed to change his, too, apparently. The NHL, in what seems to be a last ditch attempt to have any semblance of a hockey season, has made a new offer to the NHLPA.  Some of those set in stone non-negotiables had a little wiggle room after all. “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,” said Daly yesterday.  “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.” Naturally details were not provided, but details have a way of oozing out regardless. Based on reports from those who have some knowledge of the proposal, the league offered to increase the limit on player contracts from five years to six  and seven years if you are re-signing your own player.  A player's salary can vary now from 5% to a maximum of 10% per year, in the hopes of eliminating some of the incredibly whacked long term contracts previously thrown at players that were a devious way of avoiding salary cap issues. The "make whole" offer of $300 is still part of the latest offer, to help transition hockey revenue sharing to 50/50.  The proposal still is looking at a 10 year agreement, with opt out clauses for both sides at the eight year mark.  Which means we don't have to go through this stupidity nearly as often, but if Gary Bettman is still in office in ten years, chances are good we will still do it once more for good measure. The cap would be $70 million this season (or what might be left of it) before shifting down to $60 million next year. Unrestricted free agency would remain at 27 years old or seven years of NHL service. Current rules for entry-level contracts and salary arbitration also stay in place. Teams would get one “compliance buyout” of a player’s contract with the amount not charged against its cap figure but against the players’ share of revenue. Re-entry waivers would be eliminated. The league also offered to increase revenue sharing from approximately $150 million to $200 million with creation of an industry growth fund to improve the revenue potential of the NHL and its lowest-grossing clubs.   This is a vast improvement over the amount of revenue they are currently sharing - zero. According to the LA Times, one player agent, Allan Walsh, stated that "If it is take it or leave it, it won't go anywhere.  If it is an invitation to bargain, we may have something." Do not expect to hear anything solid in the next few days as the NHLPA contemplates the proposal and both sides need to actually talk to each other (for longer than five minutes at a time. One thing is certain, if both sides cannot come to an agreement, this is it.  The idea would be to start training camps by January 12 and the season (abbreviated) to start by January 19.  They were able to squeeze in 48 games in the 1994-1995 lockout shortened season.  No reason they could not do that again.  Oh yeah - unless they just can't agree on terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.  If they do not, the next cancellation is the remainder of the season.
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