Well, that was all a big mess, wasn’t it?
As you’ve probably followed on Twitter, the NHL and PA ended a week of negotiations by going back to posturing and attacking each other. I don’t remember if straight-out lies were a part of it, but they kind of are now. I’ll do my best to try and wade through all the shit both sides have just thrown us into and see just what the hell is going on.
It started when the NHL (I think) leaked their perplexion (is that a word? It is now) at the fact that in that NHLPA memo that leaked this morning (enough leaks here to be quite the golden shower, no?) there was no mention of their make-whole proposal. That proposal called for all the salary lost in the drop from 57% to 50% to be re-paid in payments in the second year and third year.
This was followed up by a leak to Larry Brooks’s reports that the PA had asked to hold at their current $1.8 billion figure with a 5% increase. There has been some conflicting reports where they wanted that whole no matter how many games were lost to this lockout or whether it was the starting point and then be prorated to whatever percentage of games are played.
The night capped off by Donald Fehr meeting the press, calling the make-whole proposal not nearly enough but claiming both sides were closer than the league is letting on.
Ok, there’s a lot of noise here. Let’s start with this idea that Fehr is holding out info to the players outside the negotiating committee. It’s just so far from believable that Fehr would hijack everything on his own terms to prove some point or get his beloved baseball system. The players have always seemed to know what the deal was. What it looks like is a return to the divide on conquer tactic that the NHL used in the last lockout. Whether this is out of desperation, one last flail at trying to flatten the players, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just standard operating procedure.
What’s weird is that the buzz is that after internal meetings, the players very well might return to negotiating with the league tomorrow. Perhaps it’s an attempt to show solidarity, I don’t know. Again, so much noise.
What I think we can take from this is that there’s something about the owners’ latest make-whole proposal that we don’t know, that’s not been leaked and that they players find distasteful. I don’t know what it could be, but that’s my guess. If the players are still holding out to be paid everything on their contracts now….well, that really just isn’t going to happen. Though in reality, simply holding at the 1.8 number with 5% growth for the players would result in the same thing that this supposed make-whole proposal would.
Maybe what Fehr is getting at is that they are saying the same thing but in different languages, and the owners refuse to get a translation.
In the end, the public posturing and bullshit is back, and we seem no closer to hockey. However, before ye abandon all hope, it’s probably important to see what goes on tomorrow and the days after. I sincerely hope the owners just threw their last depth charge and now know they’re not going to break anyone.
But again, I don’t know.