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Sunday, December 12, 2021

There must be something in the water around here.

Yesterday, while absently pondering the NHLPA’s proposed collective bargaining agreement counteroffer, centerpieced by a one-time 24 percent salary rollback, I wondered about the league’s options in the way of response. One of the things that crossed my mind was a compromise position, where the NHL accepts that offer, thus abandoning their salary cap/non-guaranteed contract position, in exchange for an extremely short contract term for this new CBA. That way, the owners would get something like the cost-certainty they wanted, then would be able to revisit the issue in a couple of years.

Today, while reading the paper, I see that one Greg Fudala of Largo proposes the same compromise concept (2nd letter down).

So is this an option, agreeing on a two-year CBA just for the sake of getting the game going again?

In a word: No.

Normally, related business factors would favor the formulation of a shorty agreement. At the moment, the NHL’s television deals for both broadcast network and cable basically cover two seasons. Since the television guys prefer to have their contracts coincide with periods of guaranteed labor peace, a two-year deal would work out neatly for the league.

But that’s about the only incentive, and it’s not enough. Agreeing to such a short duration only would serve to delay the fight. In two years, the same issues would have to be hashed over again; if anything, the owners would only demand an additional rollback in salaries by the players at that time, a condition that would get a chilly reception.

Additionally, a two-year CBA would, functionally, amount to a one-year CBA. The final year of such an agreement is spent in posturing by both owners and players, since they’re both anticipating a different economic landscape and rules in the near future. That was the case last season in the NHL (typified by one- and two-year contracts, at lower salaries). In practical terms, there would be no real stop to the negotiations in a new deal — it would just prolong the process toward a more complete solution.

Generally, both sides in a CBA prefer to hammer out a fairly long-term system, precisely because renegotiations tend to be so protracted. That’s also why built-in extension clauses are so often activated (take note of the two extensions the NHL and NHLPA agreed upon in the last CBA).

So, if an extremely short-term deal is out of the question, what about a slightly longer one? A five-year deal, without extensions, might be an option (or, alternately, a three- or four-year deal with additional-year extensions). I could see it as one way for the owners to step back (momentarily) from their intransigent salary-cap position. They’d have to be convinced that they could demonstrate how much money they continue to lose under any system other than a cap, and we could very well be in the same fix after this transitional CBA expired. If the goal is to get the games back on the ice, it would be worth it; but ultimately, it would just be time-shifting the fight by a couple of years.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/12/2021 09:17:59 PM
Category: Hockey | Permalink |

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  1. Forgive me for not being on topic!! I actually signed up for all these companies ON my junk email account. But it is still aggravating to sift through stuff I have unsubscribed from 7 times + .

    Thanks for the offer though, it was really nice.

    Comment by rancette — 12/13/2004 @ 01:39:08 PM

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