Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CBA Negotiation Highlights

Earlier we heard tell of the National Hockey League Players' Association counter offer regarding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. While the precise details in their entirety have not yet been released, the little bit we did hear of brought rays of hope. The players offered something along the lines of what many expected and what many have thought would be fair.

Essentially the players agreed to cap and potentially reduce their share of league revenues. The current salary cap would say in place, there would be no changes to free agency or the draft, and the teams would have to increase the amounts of revenue. This deal would be set for three years, with an option for a fourth. At that time, revenues levels would return to their current arrangement. Basically the players would give the league three to four years to prove that they can improve the financial situations of floundering teams and make the league as a whole better, or presumably those teams would be left to die and everything would go back to how it currently is.

Crosby attended the CBA meeting on Tuesday because, "Surprisingly enough it makes my head hurt less
than the concussions the NHL pressured me into suffering for the good of the league
I suffered through some freakish accident that the NHL is in no way libel for"
Image Source: NHLPA
There's no reason to believe that the league will simply agree to the offer. Even if it's 100% fair and both groups benefit equally, you almost can't agree simply out of principal. They will agree to the things they like and they will barter to change things they're less happy with. The exact revenue numbers, contract lengths, salary caps and floors could all still be haggled over. But I do think it's fair to say what the players offered is far and away a better place to start negotiation than what the league offered a month ago. 

The league is going to sleep on it tonight and hopes to be able to respond in full when the two groups meet together again Wednesday. Hopefully more details will come, but I was happy to hear that everyone seemed positive. Granted, during major negotiations both sides try to put out a positive message to the public, but nobody walked out pissed off. Or at least, pissed off enough to let the media know about it. So there's at least that. 

All that being said, the real highlight of all of this should be for those of you following me on Twitter. Which you should totally being doing. I created the hashtag #CBAStickingPoints to Tweet a bunch of fictional and humorous points of contentions between the two groups. What hilarious things could I think of that both sides were arguing for and were possibly holding up progress? Below are a few from Twitter, re-worded a bit since I have more than 140 characters to play with, as well as some new ones.  If you want to share your own, post them in the comments or Tweet them to me. Don't forget the #CBAStickingPoints hashtag!
  • Players are willing to acknowledge the NHL Awards show as "The bee's knees" but were not willing to go so far as to call it "The cat's pajamas"
  • The league is insisting on broadcasting the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup Finals on a tape delay like the Olympics since that worked out SO well.
  • The players are demanding that no NHLPA member is forced to be in a commercial with Corey Perry ever again. 
  • Whenever the Stanley Cup is won, both teams are required to be present on the ice during the presentation and must shout up at booing fans, "Come on guys, that really hurts Gary's feelings when you do that!"
  • The league wants to have greater control over the social media interactions between players, the media and fans, calling it the "Tim Thomas Clause"
  • Serious questions loomed over the meetings as it could not be agreed as to who would be responsible for being HockeyyInsiderr's source for the 2012-2013 season.
  • In order to create a more clean cut, attractive league the players would be forbidden to grow playoff beards and would instead all just share Shea Webeard and Henrik Zetterbeard's facial hair come playoff time. 
  • Talks were temporarily gridlocked after Zach Parise announced that he would like to speak to the two groups and everyone sat waiting for hours for him to finally make an appearance. 
    • From Twig over at Nightmare on Helm Street: "Parise's fiance insists that Zach push to have all NHL games played in Minnesota for her convenience."
  • More gridlock as Shane Doan arrived to speak and proceeded to wander from chair to chair, idly standing by the representative from each and every team for about 10 minutes at a time.
  • The league would like Jonathan Toews to be legally obligated to blink from time to time during interviews. Chicago's representative and the PA agreed on the condition that Jimmy Howard fall under the same jurisdiction.
  • The Winnipeg delegation was said to be pushing heavily to host the next Winter Classic game, and requested Philadelphia as their opponent because, and I'm quoting, "Fuck Ilya Bryzgalov, that's why."  
And finally...
  • While the specific details of the Player Association's offer may have been acceptable, I have just learned that the league has rejected the proposal due to it being written using Comic-Sans font. 
I hope you had some chuckles and if you've got any good #CBAStickingPoints to share, I'd love to see them. Hopefully we're on the road to a new CBA and avoid a lockout and having to suffer the loss of our season and our Winter Classic. Because we all know what the result of that will be...

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