50/50: The NHL Lockout’s Newest Hurdle

I hate Gary Bettman.

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Ok now, that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk lock.

There’s something missing in my life right now, and that’s a sport to take me from Tuesday through Saturday. The NBA will at least help out a bit with that, but right now, there’s a serious deficiency in some hockey. Thanks a lot Bettman, NHL fans everywhere really needed a third lockout. Ok, maybe the Maple Leafs actually did need one.

Obligatory Mighty Ducks Picture

But now, the ownership side offered a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue. And from a bargaining standpoint, 50/50 becomes the take it or leave it for any negotiation. Other issues include:

  • Salary cap of $59.9 million for the 2012-13 season, teams could spend up to $70.2 million during a “transition season.”
  • Unrestricted free agency goes from age 27 or seven years of service to age 28 or eight years of service.
  • Eligibility for salary arbitration is now five years.
  • All years of existing contracts beyond five years go against a team’s cap, regardless of where a player is playing. If a player is traded and retires or stops playing, the applicable cap charge would be applied against the team that originally signed the contact. (Thanks, Tim Thomas.)
  • Entry-level contracts are now two years.
  • A term limit on any contract beyond that set at five years and a stipulation that the average annual value can only vary up to five percent. (See Zach Parise, Ryan Suter’s contracts with the Wild this past offseason.)
  • No re-entry waivers.
  • The annual revenue sharing pool would be increased to 33 percent to $200 million, assuming annual league revenue of $3.033 billion, with a provision that half the pool be funded by the 10 teams with the highest gross revenue. A cutout against clubs in large media markets, (Anaheim, New Jersey and the New York Islanders) and clawbacks against not selling enough tickets would be eliminated. “A new revenue sharing committee, which would include NHLPA representation, would have input to determine distribution.”

Owners and players are just not getting along, and executive director Donald Fehr, who has also worked for the MLBPA, has been tenacious throughout this entire process. Now, Fehr is somewhat cautious about this offer, but there is a sense of urgency here as the owners made this offer so an 82-game season could start on November 2.

The regular length season is a huge part of the negotiations, because, if the players reject the deal, the talks will be stalled again, and the season will be shortened. A shortened schedule would cause negotiations to be over a smaller amount of revenue, costing players and owners a big chunk of money. And according to Jimmy Fallon, every loves more money.

Now while Fehr argues that this latest offer still takes money away from player salaries, some players are saying the deal needs to get done. And really, fans everywhere are saying a deal needs to get done. Bettman surely can’t be commissioner forever, and if this season gets underway, then I can’t wait to see his reception when he presents the Stanley Cup.

What I miss:

-Games any day of the week, having Sportscenter neglect any NHL coverage and not putting amazing plays where they deserve. (At least they have a weird EA NHL simulated season going on.)

I mean, can a videogame really capture Malkin’s silky dekes? Ew, “silky dekes.”

-All the grinders out there are probably getting in all sorts of bar fights with the lack of on ice battling go on. The Shawn Thorntons, George Parros (more like Al Swearengen), and Brandon Prusts of the league need something to do. At least YouTube has plenty to offer to hold hockey fans over for a while. Like Darth Quaider/One Tough Hombre/Adam McQuaid destroying the scummy Raffi Torres. (This isn’t bias, Raffi Torres is one of the dirtiest players in the league.)

-And of course, there’s nothing like an overtime winner. Which, along with the walk-off homer, is one the best ways to end a game. (Though buzzer beaters are pretty amazing too.) Sorry Hail Mary’s, you don’t happen too often, unless of course the usual refs aren’t in the game.


So, hopefully this obnoxious battle ends soon. Because I could really use some hockey right now, even with my love for football plateauing right now.

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