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Report: NHL gives NHLPA notice it wants to terminate or modify CBA

May 16, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Fehr-Bettman-Getty Getty Images

This might sound ominous, but don’t worry, it’s just part of the process.

The Sports Business Journal is reporting that the NHL has provided the NHLPA notice that the league wants to “terminate and/or modify” the collective bargaining agreement that expires Sept. 15.

Again, this was to be expected.

Sports law analyst Eric Macramalla explains via Twitter: “If NHL or PA did not provide notice then CBA would have remained in place for another year as per Article 3.1 of CBA; this is not a surprise.”

What we don’t know is how much modifying the NHL wants to do. Will it aggressively pursue a significant reduction in the players’ share of revenue (currently 57%)?

Personally I’m optimistic a deal will get done. Worst-case scenario a few games are lost. There’s too much money being made for a work stoppage to be worth the trouble.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before. (Although technically the Coyotes could still beat the Kings in 6.)

  1. howardforvezina - May 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Jason you have to admit it is horrible timing to tell them this.

    • Jason Brough - May 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Don’t think they had an option to delay. Had to be within 120 days.

      • kitshky - May 16, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        I love how someone thumbed that down … you know they’re probably standing in the corner with their hands over their ears humming loudly too.

  2. tarotsujimoto74 - May 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Was it the MLB that had a seamless transition this year to the new CBA? Can we please have that with the NHL and avoid what happened with the NBA

    • comeonnowguys - May 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM


      Here’s why.

  3. ballistictrajectory - May 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Better idea:

    Let’s put Fehr and Bettman into uniforms, with pads and skates and let them go one-on-one for 60 regulation minutes. Most goals wins.

    • hystoracle - May 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Can either one of them skate? It might be all they can do to get to center ice for the faceoff.

      • govtminion - May 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Then it’s an even better idea now 😀

  4. dougr42 - May 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I’m afraid Fehr is going to do something drastic and stupid…kind of like with the realignment. Let’s not forget the “its more travel argument” that was factually wrong.

    • jimw81 - May 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      Fehr isn’t stupid, he’s gary’s worst nightmare.

    • jimw81 - May 16, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      realignment is an issue. what do you say to flyers fans living on west coast you can only see flyers once on west coast. Fehr isn’t stupid. he’s knows the league can’t stomach another lockout but he can look at issues he seems to important. like appeals for players suspensions. Fehr isn’t stupid, he’s gary’s worst nightmare.

  5. barkar942 - May 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    My personal thoughts are that things are headed in the right direction with the sport since the lockout, but obviously there are still ownership profitability issues in a few markets. There are issues in NJ, Phoenix and Columbus and I am sure a few others.
    There are some loopholes that need to be closed up (burying Redden’s contract in Hartford,the Kovy-Hossa-Richards type contracts that pay them all up front and whither to nothing years down the road,etc.) Now there are realignment issues.
    I think that when all is said and done, there will not be a lockout or a strike. Both sides now need to just tweak the current CBA to settle out loopholes, finances, and work out realignment issues. Neither side wants a work stoppage, and I think after the last time, neither side will force that issue.
    Fehr is the first person in charge of the players union in quite some time who is knowledgeable and intelligent and will fight for his minions, but also will not “lead the lemmings off the cliff of self-destruction.
    Once the season is finished, I believe both sides are prepared to haggle, but neither side will destroy what has been a successful resurgence in the game since ’05.

  6. DED - May 16, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Fehr led the MLBPA through the 94-95 strike. You could make the case that the most recent MLB CBA went smoothly because Fehr stepped down in 2009. I’m so worried that Fehr is going to screw up the next season for hockey. The guy is a menace.

  7. spydey629 - May 16, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    The biggest thing is that the NHL already has a salary cap. Fehr can’t argue against adding something that is already there.

    As much as a pain as he is, Fehr is also a very, very smart man. He took 18 months to study the NHL’s financial world, and has to have learned that hockey is not in the same world as baseball. There is something to be said for that, and how it affects his approach.

    That said, I think this will go relatively smoothly (at least compared to 2004). I expect the season to start in October. Now just when in October will be up for debate.

  8. buffalomafia - May 16, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    The NHL has to do something with Phoenix & a couple weak franchises the need to be relocated to other viable cities!

    Second stop suspending players for hits unless it is meant to hurt another player on purpose! Sometimes momentum makes you look bad.

    Finally, make two solid conferences where 16 teams make playoffs & the first seed plays sixteen seed like they did back in the day!

    Quit crying about travel! The fans want to see Buffalo vs LA or Philly vs Dallas in playoffs instead of the same boring format they have now.

    Don’t just think about making money. Give the fans what they want!

    What do the rest of you NHL fans think?

    • jimw81 - May 16, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      league has to eilmainate teams in non traditional sports cities. The product will get better.

  9. jimw81 - May 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I think Fehr is more interested in giving the players more power in the league and taking it away from Gary and his lawyers at NHL headquarters. Fehr going to make players suspensions appeals an very important issue. I think he going to the pressure on the small market teams to spend. he did it in mlb cba in which there are penalties for teams that spend at a certain floor i.e. Flordia marlins.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      That’ll be a big sticking point because I’ve heard in the media that the owners want to get rid of the salary floor. There’s all sorts of stories about bottom teams trying to get to that mark, Florida this year was adding players right up until camp to get there (it worked out well for them) or a few years ago the Nashville Predators signed an admitted drug addict just to get to the floor.

      • jimw81 - May 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

        if you are going to have an salary cap, you got to have a cap floor. If you don’t want a cap floor then get rid of the salary cap. it makes zero sense on owners part.

  10. atwatercrushesokoye - May 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    This is very similar to 94, the NHL had a great postseason that year, the Rangers won the cup interest in hockey was up across the board and then they shut the doors. This year the NHL has ratings up across the board and they’re on the cusp of a possible LA v NY final that Bettman probably dreams of and now they’re going to screw it all up again.

    Unfortunately the problem isn’t as simple as getting a pound of flesh from the players in the next CBA, they could do that and they’ll be right back in the same situation when that CBA expires. The real problem is that Bettman decided to expand to too many teams in too many locations that don’t care about hockey, those teams are naturally in financial peril (because no one goes to their games in a ticket revenue driven league) and until they relocate or contract some of those teams the economics of the NHL will always be broken.

    The traditional hockey markets are doing well, Toronto is by far leading the league in revenues, the other Canadian teams are all in or around the top 10, the Rangers are making $5.6 million every playoff game, the rest of the original six and Pennsylvania are doing really well…it’s time for the NHL to really think about whether they want to drag along teams that constantly lose millions of dollars (Phoenix loses $25 million every year, although the playoffs this year likely lessened that) or whether they good of the game, and making the economics of the NHL work, they’re better off cutting 4 teams and relocating a few others to more traditional hockey markets.

  11. kicksave1980 - May 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    What I would love to see is the pre-1994 playoff format. I know that a lot of you will disagree, but for me, the divisional playoff format was the best thing possible. Knowing as a Blackhawks fan that I was guaranteed to see Detroit, St. Louis, Minnesota, Toronto, or Winnipeg in the first and second round was awesome. The hatred was real, both in the stands and on the ice.

    As for expansion, I see a lot of people point fingers at Bettman, but you also have to remember that he works for the owners. I haven’t always been Bettman’s biggest fan, but you’re flat out kidding yourselves if you think that expansion was all his idea, or that he was able to just make it happen. The owners wanted the expansion fees from those cities.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      I agree the divisional matchups in the first two rounds always provided intense rivalries where teams absolutely hated eachother. One point though, Winnipeg wasn’t in the Norris division, they were in the Smythe division. Norris: Detroit, Toronto, Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis. Smythe: Calgary, Edmonton, LA, Vancouver, Winnipeg

      • kicksave1980 - May 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        You’re right…I’m getting old! I remember them in the Central, but forgot that they didn’t come over until the Central/Norris change. Do you remember when Tampa was in the Norris until they were able to be worked in to the Wales? That was crazy.

  12. chiadam - May 16, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I’ll be stunned if the NHL open the regular season any time before January. The league is still going to be looking for concessions from the players, but the players were annihilated in the last CBA. They might actually be looking to get a little something back. Oh, and Donald Fehr is involved. And Gary Bettman. So…

  13. cgspens - May 17, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    As it always seem to go the people that pay the most are the people that pay the most, the fans. We cough up our hard earned cash for tickets and now have to face another threat of a strike or lockout of the game we love. We hear it from players, coaches, GM’s and owners our fans are the greatest, if so treat us that way.

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