The NHLPA presented its counterproposal at a meeting in Toronto after having over 200 players review the proposal during the last 48 hours. Twenty-three players were in attendance to present to the league, as per NHLPA’s Twitter: Craig Adams, Josh Bailey, Tim Brent, Michael Cammalleri, Chris Campoli, Sidney Crosby, Mathieu Darche, Steve Downie, Rick DiPietro, Sam Gagner, Steve Montador, Alex Ovechkin, Chris Phillips, Kyle Quincey, James Reimer, Steven Stamkos, Matt Stajan, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban, John Tavares, Mike Weaver, Dan Winnik, and Wojtek Wolski. This list is impressive not only because of the large number but because three huge NHL stars (Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos) attended–proving to the NHL that players are as invested as we hoped they would be.
The proposal came as a response to Thursday’s meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who reiterated that the lockout would be the course of action come September 15 if a new CBA was not agreed upon. As per Kirstie Ackert of the New York Daily News, this effectively negates union head Donald Fehr’s hopes that the season could start under a “gentleman’s agreement” pending CBA finalization. In other words, the September 15 deadline has become non-negotiable, and both sides are scrambling to come to an agreement over the next month.
Details of the proposal have not been released as of yet, but Bettman has indicated that the proposal is thoughtful and thorough: “It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two.” It has also been reported that the NHLPA will not be asking the NHL to eliminate the salary cap, which should bring us much closer to an agreement.
Bettman also indicated that he hopes the NHL will be able to respond to the proposal during tomorrow’s meeting.
Update 1:47PM CST: Union head Donald Fehr has addressed the media, and Michael Grange has gathered some details on the proposal for the Twitterverse. The players have agreed to take a reduced share of the hockey-related revenue over the next three years provided there is “more aggressive and targeted revenue sharing.” Under their proposed CBA, the current player contract system and salary cap would stay in place with some exceptions for the cap–as Fehr said, the NHLPA proposes “fixing problems that exist rather than problems that don’t” and “[wants] to make a deal.”
Former NHL-player and current analyst Aaron Ward offered his perspective on Twitter, saying that his “first impression of NHLPA proposal was that it was not a ‘counter attack’ in response to the League’s July 13th proposal” and that his “second impression was that it possessed economic elements that were ‘interesting’ to the League.”
According to the NHLPA, we can expect video of Fehr and the players addressing the media soon.
Update 2:08PM CST: Chris Johnston reports that a luxury tax is part of the proposal and that the “cap won’t move much under the deal, but some teams can go above and others below.” The salary cap is a big compromise from the NHLPA, and fans everywhere hope that the NHL will see it as such.
Aaron Ward clarified the theme of the proposal, saying that the players want stronger teams in league to partner with and help smaller market/struggling teams. The way the NHLPA proposes to do this is actually simple and straightforward: with players taking less HRR for the next three years, the extra money could be used for the teams in need provided the league (and thus its revenue) continues growing at the rate it has (9% this year and 10.2% the previous year). Players would then have the option to revert back to the current 57% of revenue they receive on the fourth year, judging three years to be a reasonable amount of time for the re-distribution of funds to help strengthen the finances of the league as a whole.
Update 3:44PM CST: Michael Grange’s response tweet casts doubt on the luxury tax information that has been circulating. He also provided a tweet of the CBA in a nutshell:
And the NHLPA has posted the video of Fehr and the players addressing the media:
Final Update 5:43PM CST: The Twitterverse, as well as Fehr’s video, has confirmed most of the information here except for the luxury tax. Chris Johnston himself has clarified where his comment came from, so it seems Grange was right and a luxury tax is not part of the picture:
We will be back to report once the NHL is ready to respond to the NHLPA’s proposal.