When the NHL delivered their first proposal for the new collective bargaining agreement to the NHLPA last week, you could pretty much hear the collective hearts of hockey fans sinking. In short the league was proposing a reduction in the players’ revenue from 57 to 46 percent, entry level contracts of five years instead of three, and unrestricted agency after ten years instead of the current seven or the age of 27.
New Lightning defenseman B.J. Crombeen has a message for you: Don’t Panic.
When Tampa acquired Crombeen from St. Louis earlier this month, they also got a member of the players negotiation committee. Even with the outlandish terms of the league’s proposal, he isn’t ready to start warnings about a lost season yet.
“Obviously, we’re taking it and analyzing it,” Crombeen said. “We’re trying to break down why they made that proposal and where it’s coming from. We’ll look at it, and when we get a full understanding of it, we’ll say where we’re coming from.” (Quote Source: Tampa Bay Times)
Sounds like the association is taking a very tempered approach. The situation the NHL is in now is quite a bit different than 8 years ago. There has been a lot of growth, increased profits, and a lot of success for the game of hockey. The Players Association is also willing to start the 2012-13 season under the current CBA as long as the negotiations are continuing and productive.
There has been some concern that the astronomical contracts for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise could have ruined the credibility of the league’s offer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. At least not publicly.
The overriding message seems to be one of… not necessarily optimism, but that both sides want to get a new deal in place so no time is missed. There’s no guarantee that that’s going to happen on schedule, but the process has just begun.
Boy, when Steve Yzerman said they didn’t get Crombeen just for his fighting ability he wasn’t kidding.
The Official Lightning website also has Crombeen’s first meeting with Tampa media here.