NHL’s Fat Cats Getting Richer & The NHLPA Plan
Part 1 of an ongoing series as the NHL vs NHLPA might spin wildly to a possible lockout this season…
There seems to be a panic across the media and fandom of an impending lockout. That there is a rough tough NHL ownership who doesn’t care about the fans, but about the almighty dollar.
Despite the latter more likely accurate here, anyone buying this lockout strategy wholesale is being played. There is a lot beneath these moves, besides just tough talk.
The problem is that there is an ownership and headed by Gary Bettman that is placating the very few fat cats never allowing the concept that the last CBA allowed middle and small market teams to lose money.
The fat cats will get richer with NHL’s plan. Small or struggling markets like the NY Islanders are left out in the cold in any kind of meaningful marketshare at current concept. So this is all about the hard line here that recalls that no more than a few years ago, the NHLPA was in tatters.
There is a war that should be going on between struggling markets and the very rich team owners, like Ed Snider of the Flyers, who cannot stand any revenue sharing. That is the war and shift within the NHL plan that needs to happen. This so-called tough line does squat for the NHLs revenue share and bleeding markets. That is a space that the NHLPA might look to exploit.
The real plan in beneath all this bluster and hard line. According to a NHL source, the real story will be in how flexible the NHL is when they first respond to the NHLPA players counter proposal.
In fact, according to sources, the upcoming NHLPA players proposal will not even acknowledge the NHL owners proposal. They won’t negotiate off of that.
What is far more likely to be offered back by the NHLPA is a sort of soft cap. Money above it to go to revenue sharing distribution for struggling bottom teams.
Perhaps the NHLPA would take a lesser percentage if they could get a part of the NHLs lucrative expansion and relocations fees.
They also might consider increasing the Entry Level Contract length, but don’t expect much else in terms of free agency or RFA time.
See, folks, all this bluster and pomp so far is all about negotiating position.
The owners REALLY want no different that what has happened over with the NBA or the NFL. Owners want at least a 50/50 revenue share. But, the problem is they have failed to also adopt the NBA strong revenue share plan that aids struggling teams.
Look right at the other leagues for your guidance, and there lies the middle ground. The NHL owners saw that shortened seasons can be accepted thanks to their last lockout, and recently with the NBA. They feel they can run it to the wire and slightly over.
If the NHLPA really wants to press on here, they can push past the season, or try to find some sort of olive branch before it goes too far. They have to call this bluster and either go toe to toe, or find the common ground straw that will deflate the owners huffing and puffing. But do not be taken over this drawn out drama at start. What will truly show the real story is in how each side react in response. What will be the language of the responses?
For NY Islanders fans, the NHL owners plan does nothing to help their situation. They would be able to spend less, thus lose less. But no substantial changes will be made to revenue sharing in order to help them out there. That said, the current owner plan would keep Tavares an Islander property a long time. It will be interesting to see how much the NHLPA plan might help the Isles, but overall, the Isles seem more locked in to taking losses until 2015 when they have the freedom to choose the best path before them.
According a source close to the Islanders situation, only a solid enhanced source from a new arena deal will lead to a change in Isles fortunes and their own spending.
Something even more sobering as we negotiate through the ins and outs to what many are laying good money down on a lockout this coming season. The dire Isles venue issue and leaking of cash is not a very big blip on the NHL radar. Nor the teams who failed and had to move. That issue and the leaking teams are hardly repaired by the NHL deal, and has to make one wonder if NHL only cares about the few big lucrative market teams solely, including Gary Bettman himself.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.