Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NHL Owners Make Counter-Proposal

If the NHL endures another season-killing lockout, I'm not sure if it will recover. Since the previous work stoppage, the Winter Classic, Olympic hockey, and the success of big market teams (LA Kings, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks winning Cups; New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers contending for them), have all helped the league rebuild. A salary cap has led to parity, and rule changes have allowed the game to open up.

Then what will bring the fans back if the 2012-13 season is lost?

The NHL owners reduced their ransom demands in a counter-proposal yesterday. Instead of immediately reducing the players' cut of hockey revenues to 43%, the NHL proposed a gradual year-by-year reduction from the current rate of 57% to 50%.

The deal would also decrease the salary cap to $58 million in 2012-13, instead of the projected $70.2 million. The cap would remain fixed, increasing to $60 million in 2013-14, and $62 million in 2014-15.

As a Bruins fan, I hate this. As a hockey fan, I hate this.

I don't mind a salary cap, but it seems like the League is catering to its struggling teams. Instead of promoting and rewarding success, they're trying to support teams that aren't succeeding. It's communism. What would the 1980 US Olympic team or the Canadian team from the 1972 Summit Series team say about such an arrangement?

The big market teams, like the Bruins, get screwed. They can't retain talent, can't acquire new talent, because nobody in Arizona cares about the Coyotes. That doesn't make sense.

The players get screwed too. They're asked to take less money even though it's more dangerous to play hockey in 2012 than it's ever been. The NHL's latest 50/50 proposal is much more reasonable than its previous demand that the players only get 43% of hockey revenue. Nevertheless, I think the players should get similar compensation to what they get now (57%). Not less. Why should they get less when the League has been more successful because of their play?

The players aren't demanding more, they just want the same. They also want there to be NHL hockey in 2012-13. The NHL owners, on the other hand, are suffering from short-term greed. They want what's good for their wallets today, not what's good for the game for the next 10 years. They don't seem to care if hockey is played this year.

Although I have a feeling that they're bluffing. And that this will be resolved at the zero hour on September 14th, with the players accepting minimal cuts.

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