A Wednesday meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA did not bode well for the New York Rangers to start a new season on January 1. According to Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet, the league’s proposal’s to modify the CBA were not met with a great deal of enthusiasm from the player’s union.
“There were audible gasps when this was presented” on the NHLPA conference call, one player said of the proposals when the NHLPA held a call with members for 2.5 hours on Wednesday.
According to Friedman, the league presented these two “gasp” worthy proposals:
The first asked for changes solely to the upcoming season. Deferred compensation went to 20 percent; escrow to 25. There were no other alterations. The second asked for deferred compensation to be raised to 26 percent for next season. Escrow was not touched until years four-to-six of the CBA, rising from six percent to between 8.5 and nine.
Basically, the league position is this: the CBA is a 50-50 revenue split, and COVID-related damages are more significant than what was projected even four months ago. There’s going to be a shortfall, and it must be addressed.
Don Fehr and Gary Bettman will speak again today. The NHL has asked for an additional 16% deferred salaries and adjustments to escrow limits in the last three years of the CBA. Both sides are committed to playing, but this is a big ask and will require much more negotiating.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 19, 2020
Besides the idea the union hates the idea of escrow, Friedman reports that the union had some other reactions.
“We just made a deal, so why should it be changed?” “In the past, when we’ve been unhappy with a CBA, we’ve had to live with it,” “Why did this get proposed so late, we didn’t need a gun to our heads,” “If we agree to this, who’s to say it won’t happen again,” and “They knew this was going to happen all along, didn’t they?”
This may end up leading to some negative public relations similar to what Major League Baseball experienced last spring when their league and union very publically disagreed on how to deal with the loss of revenue during a worldwide pandemic.
As the two sides continue talking the clock is ticking as they figure out ways to come to some sort of agreement on schedule, safety protocols, and the money flow issues so that they can begin their season on the targeted date of January 1.