Well, it appears the NHL has clarified their first Collective Bargaining proposal. Basically, it’s been stated that things like medical care, training camps, injuries and roster moves are issues that both sides don’t have much of a difference in opinion on.
I guess that could be considered good news, right?
Unfortunately, the NHL still has quite a ways to go before everything’s resolved. There’s still the issue of lowering the players share of the revenue from 57 to 46 percent, something that would just give smaller market teams less of a chance at obtaining high-end, top quality players. Of course, that would also make it less likely for a smaller market team to make it far in the playoffs and, possibly, win a Stanley Cup which would be sad to see because, quite honestly, who doesn’t love a Cinderella team in the playoffs?
Another controversial topic is how long a player must be in the league before becoming an unrestricted free agent (UFA). The current time length is seven years but the NHL is now proposing that a player must be in the league at least 10 years before becoming an UFA.
To be completely honest, I like the NHL’s offer regarding when a player should be eligible to become a UFA. Of course, that might be because most of my favorite players are young and I don’t want them to leave the team they’re currently with. My guess is that most players won’t agree with the NHL’s offer regarding UFA status though because there are players in the league who don’t like the team they end up playing for, as well as those who just need a change of scenery. I mean, we all saw how the acquisitions of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter paid dividends in the Los Angeles Kings’ magical 2012 Stanley Cup run!
For right now, there’s no counter-proposal from the NHLPA but it’s been stated that should be coming within the next two weeks. The two sides re-convene this upcoming Monday to continue negotiations. With the current CBA set to expire September 15th and the regular season set to begin October 11th let’s hope things are resolved as quickly as possible.
If they aren’t, a league that’s just recently begun to attract new fans worldwide could be put in yet another bad situation–one that can, and should, be avoided at all costs because in that situation the fans are the ultimate losers.