NHL CBA: League’s first offer to the Player’s is an Insult

By
Updated: July 13, 2012

Renaud Lavoie of RDS has reported on the league’s initial offer to the players in CBA negotiations (link is in French).  Now I realize that negotiation is a process, and you start out asking for the moon and settle somewhere in the middle.  However this 5 part offer is quite frankly an insulting one.   If the NHL takes a hardline stance on these issues, we can expect another long and protracted lockout and that clearly won’t be good for the game.  Lets examine this 5 part proposal and what it would mean.

 

1) The Players share of revenues reduced to 46% from 57%.

This would lead to a a 19.29% drop in player salaries immediately.  Very similar to the 24% rollback the players took in the 2006 agreement.  While the players probably wont stay at 57% after seeing the NFL and NBA CBAs reach agreements that are much closer to 50%, such a drastic move is out of line and unnecessary IMO.  This is a league whose revenues have nearly doubled since the last CBA was signed.  With all these revenues coming in, I have a hard time believing the League’s claims that teams are in such financial trouble.  In a multi billion dollar business with player costs set at 57% there is no reason that they can not create a healthy economic environment for every team.  If certain teams can not survive in this climate, perhaps they are in the wrong markets, or perhaps the league should institute better revenue sharing from the big market clubs to the small market ones.

I have a hard time believing that the small market teams cannot survive when we see the Minnesota Wild drop 196 million on two players just a couple weeks ago.  Or last summer watching the Buffalo Sabres spending spree.  Or the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer.  Or watching the Devils drop a mega contract on Kovalchuk.  Or the Tampa Bay Lightning’s spending spree in 2009.   Or Florida’s last season.  Or Carolina having both Staal brothers on massive deals.  And on and on and on.   These owners are smart business men, no one is holding a gun to their head with these contracts, and yet

We see big market teams like the Leafs paying Jeff Finger in the minors, or New York paying Wade Redden in the minors, or the Blackhawks paying Cristobal Huet in Europe, or the Capitals paying Michael Nylander in Europe.  All moves that were made during the lockout.  All moves that were made to clear cap space so these teams could go out and spend even more money.

To illustrate how big of a move this is.  It would result in the NHL’s  salary cap dropping from 70.2 million, to a number in the 58 million dollar range.  Such a huge drop would put the new cap barely above the current NHL salary floor.

Update:  Larry Brooks of the New York Post is suggesting that there would also be major changes to what is included in Hockey Related Revenue.  With such major changes, this could mean that the net effect is even greater than a 19.29% hit to the players.  Without knowing the exact details the numbers are unknown at this time.

However this isn’t the biggest issue.  The next two issues are the big ones.

2) Players would need 10 years of service to become Unrestricted Free Agents.
3) Arbitration would be eliminated
4) ELCs to be 5 years instead of 3 years in length.

Basically these three moves in tandem would seriously depress salaries of guys under the age of 30.

Extending the ELC would mean that young players would be getting around 1 million dollars in base salary for a lot longer.

The extension of RFA years, coupled with the elimination of salary arbitration would create a huge number of RFAs while at the same time completely eliminating the bargaining power of those RFA players.  We all know that the league’s GMs loathe offer sheets and just do not use them.  The removal of arbitration rights would take away almost all the bargaining power of an RFA.  If a team lowballs an RFA, he will be stuck with three options… 1) Hold out for a better deal, 2) see what you can get in Europe 3) sign the lowball offer.

These clauses are quite simply things the players cannot possibly even consider accepting.

Which brings us to the 5th Request of the NHL

5) A five year max contract length

While I certainly think that something will be done to limit the long term contracts we are seeing in the NHL, I think this is going a little too far.  5 year contract limits are just another limit on the bargaining power of players under the CBA.  I’m of the belief that if a GM is willing to take the risk with a long term deal, no one should be able to stop him.  And if a star player is willing to commit to spend the rest of his career in one city, he should also be able to do so.

Update: Larry Brooks is also stating that all contracts must be for the same amount in every year.  They can not be front-loaded or backloaded in any way… even if its just something done for tax reasons.

 

 

Now sure, we don’t want the players and teams circumventing the cap with long term deals that feature low salaries in the final years where players retire and never play them out, but there is an easier way to deal with this.  Quite simply set up a system that works in a similar way to a buyout, where even if a player retires, his entire cap hit does not disappear, but the team must make up for a portion of the deal.

What do I have in mind?

Lets say a player has the following contract… 7 years, 49 million (7 million dollar per year cap hit).
It is structured as follows.   10 million 10 million 9 million, 9 million, 5 million, 4 million,  2 million.

If a player retires before year 7, his team has saved 5 million in cap hits during the first 6 years due to the structure of the contract… (Ie they paid out 47 million in salary, but only took 42 million in cap hits in those 6 years).  As a result in year 7, they take on a 5 million dollar cap hit if the player retires.

This would be a deterrent to the mega contracts with clear “retirement years” at the end and would allow teams to still be able to lock up a good young player for the rest of his career.

 

 

Overall this proposal is one I see the players being adamantly opposed to, and I see it being rejected.   Like I said earlier, yes its an opening proposal, and the league is asking for more than they will end up settling for.  However this opening position is so far out there, it is such a ridiculous request that it carries with it real danger of creating animosity in the process.  I feel that while the league obviously should be opening here with an offer that is in its favour, it should also be a realistic offer.  Something that creates some starting points and areas where movement would be meaningful towards a resolution.  This is such a lowball offer that it doesn’t provide for that.

Now I know what many will say.  The players are overpaid, and that they are playing a game, and they don’t deserve this money.  But lets remember a few things.  This is a battle of billionaires, and hundred millionaires owners vs the Players.  This is not a battle of the common fan vs the players.  The last lockout should have proved to everyone that even if player salaries drop, ticket prices will not follow.  In fact one of the reasons the cap keeps growing is the continued inflation of ticket prices.  So even if the owners get lower salaries, they will still continue to raise prices and it will just mean more money in their pocket.

 

 

What do you think about this?  Feel free to leave your comments and follow me on twitter @LastWordBKerr.

25 Comments

  1. brad

    July 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Great job. 2 points only, there has to be some sort of arbitration mechanism, or we risk dragging the civil courts into the NHL’s business, which they surely don’t want.

    Secondly, I don’t see a problem with a max 5 year contract. When it’s up, if everyone is happy, the guy can sign another 5er.

    That said, it’s hard to imagine this is a substantive proposal. Things could get pretty ugly if it is so.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Ben Kerr

      July 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      The removal of arbitration would be the removal of salary arbitration for RFAs.

      This would not result in court cases. No court can force a player or team into a contract they don’t want if they resist it.

      This wouldn’t be for issues of discipline and other things… just the simple process we see every August where Restricted Free Agents with 4 or more years of pro experience and who have a qualifying offer can opt for arbitration as a way of setting the value of their next contract. Or teams can opt for it under certain conditions as well.

      • Not Concerned Just Yet

        July 14, 2012 at 5:52 am

        To follow up on Ben’s point regarding arbitration and the present qualifications and sometimes a reason why a rookie will be sent back to his junior team before playing 10 games:

        CBA Section 10.2(a)(i) on Professional Experience:

        For the purposes of this Section 10.2(a), a Player aged 18 or 19 earns a year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or more NHL Games in a given NHL Season, and a Player aged 20 or older (or who turns 20 between September 16 and December 31 of the year in which he signs his first SPC) earns a year of professional experience by playing ten (10) or more Professional Games* under an SPC in a given League Year.

        *Professional Games includes minor pro league games like the AHL, and I believe other pro leagues in Europe.

        The ages indicated are those of the player in question when he signed his first professional contract, while the years of experience reflect the total at the end of the most recent contract

        Eligible players must be:

        •Between 18 and 20 with at least four years of professional experience
        •21 years old and have played at least three years of professional hockey
        •Ages 22 and 23 with at least two years experience in the pro ranks
        •24 or older with at least one year of professional experience

  2. thanks

    July 14, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Ben – great work and excellent analysis.

    I think the essence of the NHL’s opening (unacceptable) offer is to appeal to the majority of NHL players. Folks who make it beyond five years but never reach star status. Forcing longer ELCs reduces some early years of RFA contracts. Limiting unrestricted free agency to those players with more than 10 years of service (say 32 y/o players) and reducing their salaries by limiting terms, means that only true stars will make big bucks. That leaves a good chunk of smaller pie for the majority of NHLPA members.

    Unions favor incumbents over future members. Fehr is a baseball guy where player pay their dues before making big bucks. No one expects big NFL contacts for top draft choices.

    The specifics of this NHL offer are awful. They’re approach (if this is correct) suggests an NHL looking for economic concessions by giving the most to the biggest and powerful bloc of NHLPA voters.

  3. Not Concerned Just Yet

    July 14, 2012 at 5:05 am

    You did some nice work, yet a few points of discussion.

    You mention the offer is “Insulting” and a “Ridiculous request” but this is strictly business.

    What has transpired at this point is more public relations than anything else. The NHL has set its own bar FIRST that they truly know will not be achieved.
    Moving forward, strategically and for perception, any give towards the NHLPA position will hopefully be deemed as perceived movement on the owners part in the Court of Public Opinion- in others words, it is the owners that are giving in – not the NHLPA, as the casual fan is mostly unaware of the 2005 CBA details.

    1. The Players share of revenues reduced to 46% from 57%. This would lead to a 19.29% drop in player salaries immediately. Very similar to the 24% rollback the players took in the 2006 agreement.

    That could well be a quickly made assumption. First, there has yet to be decided the method and mode of exactly what will be counted in the revenue pot, how it will be shared, and the adoption of a more palatable Salary Cap Floor for the supposed struggling teams. That mentioned, it is unthinkable that the Salary Cap Ceiling would decrease in excess of $3M-$4M per team. There is no talk of an across the board salary rollback.

    In point 1, you also mention “you have a hard time believing teams cannot survive when”…using “Florida’s spending spree last year” as an example. That is somewhat out of context and does not address the detail at that specific moment in time.

    Late last June, and even after the acquisition of the Brian Campbell contract, Florida was still $26 Million short of the Cap Floor with the need to sign between 9-12 roster players. Did Florida actually WANT to spend that money? Logic would dictate no, yet NOT spending to the floor would have caused further catastrophic events for the franchise such as multimillion dollar fines, loss of draft picks, and other consequences mentioned in the NHL Bylaws and Constitution.

    ELCs-UFA-Arbitration may be tweaked.

    Ex:

    ELC: Perhaps an elimination of the < 10 NHL game sliding formula while extending to 4 years.

    UFA: The present 27/7 formula could be changed to 27/8, yet a compromise on the 40 game vesting period.

    Arbitration: Surely that is a non-starter for the players.

    5) A five year max contract length. That won’t happen, but what should happen is a change in the formula of decreasing salary per year on longer term contracts that presently allows what is realistically Cap Circumvention.

    They will have to amend the formula whereas yearly decreases are not allowed up to 50% of the lowest salary of the 1st two years of the contract. If that percentage was to change to 10%, the problem would be eliminated. Those last “throw away” years would terminate.

    No mention yet of guaranteed contracts-potential contract option years-trading part of a salary and cap hit-the elimination of full NMC or NTC- A more owner friendly buy-out formula in terms of both salary( 2/3-double the time left on the contract)and the complex, almost crippling Cap hit effect-burying bad contracts-Conference realignment-The Olympics….a long, long way to go!

    • Ben Kerr

      July 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Yes, this is a negotiation, and yes this is business… but this offer is an insult.

      Look at it this way.

      You walk into a car dealership, you are looking at the new cadillac, the price on the sticker is $80,000. Yes you are going to negotiate with the salesman, yes you are going to low ball him to start that negotiation. But what you shouldn’t do is offer $20,000 for the vehicle. Even with a lowball its not a realistic offer. That is essentially what I think the owners have done with this offer.

      46% of HRR, plus you want to redefine HRR and remove many of the things currently included? Surely this is a jest.

      Add to that the 10 years of service for UFA, longer ELCs, the elimination of signing bonuses, the elimination of arbitration, and the contract limit of 5 years?

      Add those 6 things together, and this is a ridiculous proposal, and one that could and probably should get the players backs up right from day 1.

      Treating CBA negotiations like a war instead of working to come to a resolution that works for both sides, only leads to hostile negotiations, and reduces the chances of finding amicable common ground.

      • Not Concerned Just Yet

        July 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

        For the moment, perhaps we will need to agree to disagree.

        You see it as personal, and from here, it appears to be strictly business.
        A car purchase is definitely personal – collective bargaining, less so.

        We’ll see in the coming weeks/months how it plays itself out. The NHLPA now has a starting point and will respond in manner.
        That response will will place the different lines in the proverbial movable sand.

        Allow the process to take its normal course of nature and don’t be surprised if little happens for at least the next 60-70 days.

        • Ben Kerr

          July 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

          Oh I know that 85% of CBAs get settled in the last week or later, so I really don’t expect a deal before September.

          I just worry that this will get the players backs up early in the process.

          I also think that if the owners are hardline on even one of these issues, we are headed for a lockout.

    • neumann103

      July 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

      @Not Concerned Just Yet

      This offer is both “ridiculous” and “insulting”. It is not an optimistic but unrealistic opening position. It so far from anything reasonable as to be ridiculous. It is not a good faith offer and so risks poisoning the negotiations.

      The only point that is in the real world is maximum contract length of five years.

      This is not a proposal that can be tweaked. It is not a starting point. It is a shot across the bow from the NHL executive and the small market and Luddite owner clique that controls them that they intend to gouge, lockout etc and when the game does return you can bet ticket prices will not go down, the extra 30% or so of revenue will just go into owners pockets.

      • Not Concerned Just Yet

        July 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

        Nueman

        I respect your position and only time will tell if you are correct, yet my answer to you for the moment is that same answer I gave to Ben above.

  4. Pingback: NHL Blog Beat (NHL Initial CBA Proposal Edition) – July 14, 2012. | Spectors Hockey

  5. Not Concerned Just Yet

    July 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Ben,

    Let’s look at this another way concerning the players, and who may blink first, and the owners overall profile.

    For the most part and with some exceptions, NHL owners are million/billionaires with other business ventures that possibly may be using book losses against other profitable ventures – obviously depending on State and Corp set up.

    They may also be drawing huge salaries, or use their hockey team – placing “preferred” family members or acquaintances with ‘favors owned’ into some lucrative paying team corporate jobs. If you verify team websites, you will see that this is not an uncommon practise – competence or not…that not being the issue.

    As for NHL players, with the exception of the mega paid guys – perhaps 6-10 roster players per team, the remaining 350-450 or so are moving into max earning years of what could be a relatively short career. They also may have been in the low earnings category.

    As I am sure you are aware, players are paid only during the season, and about every 2 weeks which equates to about 13 pay periods for the year from mid October until mid April.

    Rand Simon, affiliated with Newport Sports Management,(Don Meehan) wrote a great article about the payment process of NHL players.

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/10852-Insider-Blog-The-taxman-cometh.html

    Several mid level players have been without a paycheck since mid April and probably look forward to the planned 1st check of Mid October.Perhaps their wives :-) and children also.

    If there is a work stoppage and no paycheck for 1 or 2, or 3-4 pay periods, there will certainly be an element of the NHLPA that will begin to become antsy. What percentage that will be is a number not known at this stage…nor will we know if these same are engaged and begin to put pressure on Fehr and the negotiating team to get a deal done.

    Perhaps the opening bid is one of ‘reality check’ and to potentially sow the seeds of discontent amongst the truly different wage earners of the NHLPA.

    We shall see how it pans out…

    • Ben Kerr

      July 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      I agree with all of that. We are talking about the owner’s leverage in this negotiation now though.

      What is the player’s leverage?

      The game is at its best and deepest US market penetration in history. The new NBC Sports TV deal is the most lucrative american TV contract in NHL history. This year’s winter classic at the big house between Detroit and Toronto should shatter all previous winter classic attendance figures and money making potential. The NHL is finally somewhat relevant in the Los Angeles market with the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup. There is major momentum for the Rangers as well, making the final four, and the Bruins, Flyers, Blackhawks, Capitals all have competitive teams in big market US cities.

      There is a buzz in carolina with the addition of Jordan Staal, a buzz in Florida for the first team to make the playoffs in a long time, the Devils coming off a cup final appearance, and legit superstars emerging for both the Isles and Tampa Bay. There is a Minnesota team who made a huge splash in free agency. There is a Pittsburgh team who is now a top franchise in the NHL and was floundering at the last lockout.

      The Owners, through Bettman, have long wanted to grow the game in the United States, and here we are, on the verge of something finally happening. Do you throw that all away with an ugly work stoppage this October?

      • Not Concerned Just Yet

        July 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

        Ben

        I do not dispute anything you mention regarding market penetration and the future bright prospects of the game itself, yet it’s July 15th and not September 15th.
        From here, it is much too early to project out to early October.

        If you notice one peculiar aspect of the past 24 hours, it is the media talking heads making all the assumptions – yet Omerta from the NHLPA.

        Only Don Fehr has been the exception with a few minor quotes such as:
        ” What do I think about salary rollbacks?” Fehr said when asked that question. “I think basically what most people representing employees would think about salary rollbacks. What I’m sure you would think about salary rollbacks if they came to you. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what that is.”

        That’s it!
        No player on the NHLPA negotiating team or any other player has commented on the “supposed,” yes supposed initial NHL offer or guidelines the NHL has presented.

        Me thinks this is an almost useless “media made” panic well BEFORE any serious negotiating starts.

        What is also interesting is some of the commentary. Some people are sympathetic for the owners-some for the players…and some just hate it all, yet throughout the bashing of the owners supposed offer, little or no alternatives are presented.

        There is a process to fulfill – a means to an end where the lawyers must also justify their work.
        What may be perceived ridiculous today, may well end up being far from the final document.

        A famous quote to ponder:
        “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

  6. Gary Bettman

    July 16, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I hate hockey. They booted me from basketball, another lousy Canadian sport. I also hate Canada, and Don Cherry and Ron McLean, the one that dares to ask me realistic questions. And I hate hockey players. Why should any of them make more money than me. All they do is play hockey and have fun while I have to be a dirty filthy rat face punk in front of thousands and get booed when I put my crap encrusted paws on the Stanley Cup. (Okay satire aside, seriously, this guy Bettman is a brutally effective negotiator with no concern for anything except the bottom line of the only people he represents – the less than 3 dozen owners.)

  7. alex

    July 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

    its not like teams like big market teams like Toronto and New York planned on signing finger and redden to ridiculous contracts to play them in the minors. They keep them there and pay them such high amounts because they made bad signings out of free agency and this way it does not count against the salary cap. and FYI Minnesota is one the biggest hockey markets in America your a fool.

    • Ben Kerr

      July 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Your criticism of me being a fool might have more weight if you knew the difference between your and you’re.

      Besides that you missed the point entirely. By putting Redden and Finger in the minors the Leafs and Rangers showed they have the money to spend far in excess of the cap, if they need to. They have the room to spend more.

      The wild might be a big hockey market, but it was specifically their owner who cried poor in April.

  8. Not Concerned Just Yet

    July 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    @ HabinBurlington

    You mention, ” First, the Americanization of our sport under Gary Bettman has led no a total of “Zero: Canadian based teams winning a Stanley Cup since the arrival of Bettman”
    —–
    Not trying to be a contrarian or a stickler for details, yet Gary Bettman was officially named NHL Commissioner on February 1st, 1993.

    101 days later, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup on June 9th, 1993.

    From the 1994 season until 2004, only 1 Canadian team has advanced to the SC finals-that being Calgary in 2004 losing a heart breaking 7 game series that could have gone either way.

    Since the lockout, 7 Stanley Cups have been played and Canadian based teams have been to the SC finals 3 times. Edmonton in 2006 also losing a heart breaking 7 game series, Ottawa in 2007, and Vancouver in 2010.

    We must also remember that Bettman is the “Front Man” for the owners and is appointed by them to carry out “their” arrived at wishes and desires.
    Section 6.3 a of the NHL Constitution defining ‘Powers and Duties’ clearly states, The Commissioner is ” Subject to the authority of the Board Of Governors…” It cannot be any clearer than that!

    As for the “Americanization” of the NHL under Bettman, the decision to expand into US markets had already been decided, and somewhat achieved BEFORE Bettman was hired.

    Florida and Anaheim began play in the 1993-94 season and that brought the NHL to 26 teams – 4 short of its 30 team total of today.

    Under Bettman as Commissioner, the NHL added 4 US based teams – Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus.

    Also under Bettman’s watch, 4 teams relocated. Minnesota to Dallas, Quebec to Denver, Winnipeg to Phoenix, and Hartford to Raleigh…and let’s not forget Atlanta moving to a Canadian city called Winnipeg under the Bettman watch.

    And while many enjoy bashing Bettman – Canadians at the top of that list, some…perhaps many forget that Bettman also championed the Canadian assistance plan, a revenue sharing agreement that saw American teams give money to help support the four small-market Canadian teams – Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver – throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Allow me to quote the very respected Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail from an April 13-2007 column:

    ” In his defence, Bettman hasn’t been the enemy of the Canadian game that so many bloggers and web-posters suggested. Bettman championed the Canadian assistance program, which subsidized small-market Canadian teams during the 62-cent dollar era. Also, the decision to go to Turin for the 2006 Winter Olympics was largely a concession to the players who wanted to play; and to the fans in Canada, who wanted NHL pros to participate. If he’d been thinking strictly of the impact on U.S. television audiences, he would have stuck to his guns and kept the NHL out of last year’s Olympics.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/northern-alienation-isnt-new-but-its-growing/article753607/

    If that did not transpire at that time, Canada could have possibly been left with 2 teams.

    At the end of the day, this is what Bettman has accomplished. NHL revenues have grown from $400 million when he was hired in 1993, to over $3.2 billion last year, and as a consequence, so have player earning skyrocketed.

    As for your statement of hockey being “Our sport” while it may have its roots here (and some conspiracy theorists will even question that)the ‘face’ of the NHL has taken on a drastic change since the doors were opened for the best players to play in the NHL.

    As just one example, a February 17-2012 article from nhl.com stated the following:

    ” The percentage of U.S.-born players in the NHL when it expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967-68 was 2 percent. That rose to 12 percent during 1979-80, the season of the “Miracle on Ice” at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, and to 17 percent in 1996-97, the season following Team USA’s triumph in the World Cup of Hockey in September 1996.”

    ” Today Of the 927 skaters and goaltenders who have played at least one game in the NHL this season, 214, or 23.1 percent, were born in the United States. Those 214 players were born in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Minnesota is first with 46 players, followed by Michigan with 34 and New York with 29. The total of New York by itself is greater than all countries except Canada, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

    An intriguing website to peruse is the following:
    http://www.quanthockey.com/nhl/nationality-totals/nhl-players-2011-12-stats.html

    This site features the nationality of NHL players since 1917-18

    What is clear is the following:

    Canadian born players:
    1970: 96%
    1980: 85%
    1990: 74%
    2000: 55%
    2005: 54%
    2011: 53.6%

    In conclusion, while your sentiments and emotions lament about the good ole days of NHL Canadiana, the present NHL has morphed into a North American based League (for the moment) that employs, for the most part, the best players in the world…and where Canadian born participation has decreased to just slightly above 50%.
    Welcome to the Globalization of the NHL!

  9. Not Concerned Just Yet

    July 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

    @ HabinBurlington

    I would like to address your other concern, ” free agents and even some of Our stars sign with Yank teams do to the lesser taxation there.”
    ————
    First off, because there are 23 US based hockey teams vs. 7 Canadian teams, the numbers themselves show that a high percentage of any nationality of player will be playing in the USA.
    In other words, of the 54% of Canadian born players now playing in the NHL, there is a 76% chance of playing in an American city.

    While taxation could be a factor, it is just one of several factors involved when a UFA of any nationality makes a decision – some agents actually call the taxation difference “dessert.”

    If taxation was the top issue, then both Edmonton and Calgary would be preferred destinations as they rank at the top of the entire NHL as being a tax friendly city-Province/State. That begs the question then why don’t more Free Agents sign in Edmonton…

    “A top player, for example, earning in the $7-million range would be left with about $4.28-million in either of Alberta’s two NHL cities but only $3.69-million with Ontario’s two teams — an almost $600,000 a year difference.”

    I digress. Just a few weeks ago, the Financial Post asked KPMG to do a quick analysis of the taxation issues in the NHL cities. That can be seen here:

    http://business.financialpost.com/2012/06/29/how-high-tax-rates-may-be-keeping-your-nhl-team-from-winning-the-stanley-cup/

    The graph depicting each city and the different levels of taxation on contracts of $2M-$4M-$7M. That can be seen here:

    http://business.financialpost.com/2012/06/29/graphic-hockey-havens-not-necessarily-tax-havens/

    A few NHL agents have called taxation “an added bonus” and a bargaining tool, yet the criteria in choosing a playing city has other issues vitally more important to the player AND his family.

    Depending on the individual, these are just some of the several factors in play:
    The city itself-The Stage desired(BIG or small)- anonymity or not.
    * The Team from GM to coach to players to playoffs to a chance to win to travel.
    Climate-Spouse and family (see Suter/Parise-Jordan Staal)-media scrutiny.

    While I may be committing Canadian Hockey Blasphemy, If identical long term contract offers were presented to me by Tampa, (Sunshine) Florida, LA, Anaheim and every Canadian city….it would be difficult choosing between… the first 4 cities mentioned.

    Finally, let’s face some ugly facts concerning Canadian based teams performance.
    Since the 2004 lockout, and with the exception of Vancouver recently and perhaps early on Ottawa, the other Canadian teams have NOT proven they can have a shot at making the playoffs, let alone being a serious contender for the Cup on a consistent basis…and the team that plays in the Center of The Hockey Universe, has not had a sniff of the playoffs since the lockout.
    How attractive is that for a player that wants to win?

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  11. Not Concerned Just Yet

    July 17, 2012 at 10:26 am

    …An update for Ben

    Corey Schneider is on the NHLPA negotiating team. Below are a few of his initial thoughts that mirror those of others NHLPA negotiation team players such as Mathieu Darche and Martin Biron.

    “I think the only thing I can say is it’s a first offer,” Schneider said from his off-season home near Boston. “It’s a starting point. We’re going to consider it and figure out what our counter proposal is going to be. Yes, it is a little shocking when you first look at it but, again, that’s how negotiations work. You aim high and then try to move back from there.

    “There is going to have to be a lot of give and take for us to come to an agreement. So we’re not too worried, and we’re not panicking right now. We’re just going to take it one meeting at a time.”

    Schneider said it’s far too early to assume there will be another lockout, or work stoppage, based on the league’s initial proposal. Training camps aren’t slated to open for another two months and the regular season is almost three months away. Players don’t receive paycheques until the regular season begins so the parties aren’t anywhere near a pressure point.

    “There is still plenty of time,” Schneider said. “I mean, we’re not thinking in those terms [lockout] yet. I think we’re both trying to get a deal done here but it takes time and it takes negotiations.”

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/07/16/its-a-starting-point-cory-schneider-says-of-nhls-proposal/

    • Ben Kerr

      July 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      PR Spin… I doubt that was said in the back rooms.

      Last time a big reason the players caved is because the Owners got them on their side with talk of parity and small market teams being able to compete. Meanwhile guys like Modano were unreasonable saying things like “i can’t feed my dogs” while still making millions.

      That quote by schneider, plus his history shows Fehr already knows he has to get the players playing the media spin game better than the owners right now.

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