In the aftermath of Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy and then Winter Storm Athena, the NHL and NHLPA have had some very long negotiations to try and find an end to this long lockout. Talks continued for over five hours on Wednesday, after about 8 hours of deliberation on Tuesday, and are expected to continue into tonight as well. Revenue sharing continues to be the hot topic. The urgency has clearly gone up for both sides. However, at the end of their negotiations last night, neither side gave any clue to the progress that was made behind closed doors.
According to The Hockey News’ official website, a source has said that if a new CBA is reached, it would take 10 days for a season to officially start; three days for players to report to their team and seven days for a modified training camp.
Another hot topic on the docket has been the “Make Whole” provision. For those of you who have not heard this before, that is just the name of the NHL’s proposed plan to guarantee that the players’ earn the full value on their current, existing contracts despite the NHL’s planned rollback in the players’ revenue share from 57% to 50%. The original plan for this “Make Whole” called for the players to ‘be made whole’ with deferred payments over the rest of their current contracts. However, the NHLPA objected after they noted in the fine print that those deferred payments would wind up coming from their own share in the future. So, as long as that version of the “Make Whole” provision is a part of the offer, don’t expect there to be an agreement from the NHLPA.
At the beginning of these current talks, NHLPA Director Donald Fehr had an optimistic way about him, saying:
“The players’ view has always been that we ought to keep negotiating until we find a way to get an agreement. You sort of stay at it day by day—so it’s very good to be getting back to the table. We hope that this time it produces more progress than we’ve seen in the past and we can figure out a way to make an agreement and to get the game back on the ice as soon as possible.”
On another note, as fans continue to voice their displeasure on the current lockout, some sponsors are now speaking out. This is the fourth labor debate for the league in the last 20 years, as the league, owners and players lose money, so are the sponsors. Arguably the largest sponsor, Molson Coors Brewing Company, has had enough. No, they’re not withdrawing their sponsorship, but they are asking for compensation if the lockout ever ends. CEO Peter Swinburn said this to The Canadian Press:
“There will be some redress for us as a result of this. I can’t quantify that and I don’t know because I don’t know the scale of how long the lockout is going to last.”
Is it wrong that Molson Coors asking for compensation made me giddy?
Okay, well, anyway, negotiations will continue into tonight. There are no planned negotiations for tomorrow, or so we have found out. Some people are starting to be a little optimistic about these negotiations, but just let me remind you how we all were optimistic when the NHL made their 50/50 offer. We all remember how those negotiations turned out. So, don’t jump for joy just yet.