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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

NHL releases details of proposal


The NHL made another pitch to the NHLPA, and tried to sweeten the pot somewhat. Some of the details that may entice the players include:
-The maintenance of guarantee player contracts.

-A profit-sharing plan to which the players would share in "league profitability over a negotiated level on a 50-50 basis."

-The implementation of a jointly monitored accounting and audit function, with multimillion-dollar fines, and forfeited draft choices - the penalty for failure to disclose required financial information.

-The establishment of a joint owner-player council to discuss various business and game-related issues.

-Plans for a shortened regular season this year with a full playoff, but splitting some revenues from the post-season to "ensure that the players receive the agreed-upon 53 per cent of league revenues."

-A revised entry level system which preserves each player's ability to negotiate performance bonuses and "which incorporates an additional league-wide bonus structure for outstanding performance on a league-wide basis." That's a step in the players' direction after taking away all bonuses in Dec. 14 offer.

-A revised salary arbitration system with expanded election rights for both players and clubs; the league had totally abolished the system in its Dec. 14 offer.

-A proposed reduction in the age for unrestricted free agency from 31 to 30, "with a possible further reduction to age 28 (tied to salary arbitration)."

-A 62 per cent increase in the league's minimum salary to $300,000 per year.

-The use of a payroll tax on clubs within the floating team payroll range "at the union's sole discretion."
The NHL has made some movement here, but probably not nearly enough for the NHLPA, especially given that what I don't see there - revenue sharing - is something the players will want a healthy amount of if they are to ever capitulate to a cap system.

So, is this the NHL's best offer? I don't think so, I think we will see that next week. So, stay tuned...yawn.

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