Throughout the pause in the NHL schedule, New York Rangers players have been keeping pretty quiet. That silence turned into a ferocious roar with the team’s best player suggesting that NHLPA players refrain from attending training camp.
“It’s time to fix the escrow,” was a surprising quote in his statement.”
Artemi Panarin, who lead the Rangers with 95 points in the shortened season, put out a statement voicing his concerns about the leagues Return to Play process which is about to enter Phase 3 on July 10 and the player’s escrow arrangement.
— Artemiy Panarin (@artemiypanarin) June 25, 2020
The 28-year-old stated that he also has “concerns not only about the health of players and their families but also about the long term prosperity of the NHL.”
Escrow is a feature built into the CBA to ensure players and teams reach a 50-50 hockey-related revenue split by withholding a percentage of players’ salaries each year. With the season on hold, the NHL took a big hit, as did all businesses. The league has no idea when arenas can have fans attend games leading to a probable reconfiguration of the escrow conversation.
The CBA is set to expire following the 2021-2022 season, but the NHLPA and NHL have been negotiating more aspects of the RTP with the escrow arrangement obviously an issue the players would like to resolve earlier than later.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported on Thursday that the NHLPA was set to vote on a comprehensive Return to Play proposal that would include a collective bargaining agreement extension as well as coronavirus-related protocols for training camp (Phase 3) and the projected summer Stanley Cup tournament (Phase 4) once ongoing negotiations between the league and the union conclude.
Panarin’s statement comes at a time where the players union has the only opportunity to improve their side of the escrow agreement before Phase 3 can begin.
“We as players cannot report to camp to resume play without already having an agreement in place.”
Looks like Panarin and his fellow players have drawn an unexpected line in the sand. For the past four months, the NHL and NHLPA have worked together effortlessly to get the season concluded. Up to this point, all things seemed as if there would be a smooth transaction from voluntary workouts through resuming the season in late July.
The next few days will be telling time in nit only the current standings between the two factions, but the negotiations of a new CBA just two seasons away.