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Brooks: Owners proposal includes salary cap rollback to $52.5 million

Jul 15, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

All the talk of late concerning the NHL owners’ initial CBA proposal to the Players’ Union has been making people nervous that we’ll see yet another labor stoppage. Larry Brooks of the New York Post includes an added bit of information this morning that won’t likely help make anyone feel better.

Brooks shares in his Sunday column that the owners’ proposal would include a roll back of the salary cap to a level not seen since 2007-08. Brooks doesn’t pull any punches with his take on it.

The NHL’s Declaration of War presented to the Players’ Association in the guise of a first proposal on Friday would roll back the salary cap to approximately $52.5 million for 2012-13. The drop of nearly $10 million from last season would represent the lowest number since 2007-08, sources with knowledge of the league’s scheme have told Slap Shots.

With a salary cap roll back of that amount, 19 teams would have to slash salary to get under the the proposed cap if that wound up being the case. Of course, the owners’ first proposal is just that — a first proposal.

NHLPA head Donald Fehr said recently he didn’t think there would be a salary roll back in the next CBA, but this report indicates the owners want to correct the “mistakes” they made with the previous agreement.

  1. broadstbully33 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    wow! so basically 1 star per team with that cap hit….can u say lockout

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      I was pretty sure that it would get solved but after reading this now I’m not so sure. Bettman is trying to do something that under his system can’t possibly be done, it’s pretty close to impossible to get rid of salary unless you give players away to other teams or you send a bunch of players to the minors, and given how many high priced players have no movement clauses it’s close to impossible.

      Unless he backs off this, or is fired by the owners (which he should be for his protection of Phoenix alone) then this is going to get very ugly.

  2. mclovinhockey - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    NHL players already get paid the least amount of money for the longest full contact season in sports. This is a horrible idea. Roll the ceiling back to close to the floor…

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      The NHL also makes the lowest revenue of the major 4 sports, kind of goes hand in hand

      • tomnickle - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        You think Donald Fehr will agree to a salary cap rollback and revenue sacrifice when league revenues have gone up over a billion dollars in the last couple of years?

        Don’t think so.

    • stakex - Jul 15, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      You don’t get paid based on the sport you play… you get paid based on how much money the owners make. Because lets be honest here, all pro athleats are over paid by a LOT if you based their pay off what they do for a living. Their pay is instead based on how much money they can make for the owner of their team.

  3. odj810 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I think they are going to get alot of people on the players side.

    • icdogg - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      The fans rarely take the players’ side in any sports dispute… no matter how extreme the owners’ position is, the fans tend to think that the players are making a lot of money for playing a game and should just be happy.

      The owners always complain that they’re the one taking the risks, but what they’re trying to do is eliminate risks for themselves while at the same time making it impossible for any competition to take hold by creating barriers to entry for ownership. The owners want the city to pay for their arenas and give them all sorts of tax breaks and road improvements so they can make more money, but at the same time they won’t take responsibility for their own inability to control their player investments.

      Still, I expect the fans to totally come down on the owners’ side because they always do.

  4. chiefblckbear - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    I have a wacky idea for the NHL. Give up thinking hockey will be embraced in the south. Yes some team turn a profit but move two teams north to Canadian city that want to advertise and talk about hockey besides the playoff and it might help the rest of the league. Heaven forbid bettmans great southern expansions look like a failure that say growth but two lockouts.

  5. bleed4philly - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    They can’t be serious

    • icdogg - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.

  6. mclovinhockey - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Only because teams like the coyotes are still around.

    This also makes Nash a lot harder to trade and first round picks more valuable than a 40 goal scorer.

  7. danphipps01 - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Man, the GMs act like spoiled children. What, after almost all of them commit $60m+ in salary, NOW they get cold feet? “Wait! We don’t want to have to spend all that! We only agreed to legally binding contracts, not to actually being bound by them! Get us out of this, Bettman!”

  8. tomnickle - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    This isn’t the end of the World. The owners know that they won the previous negotiations by a landslide and don’t want to see the Players emerge victorious this time around. All they’re doing here is setting the table. If the offer up drastic changes to the Players then the middle ground will be far more digestible for them in the end.

    Revenue split at 50/50
    4 Year Entry level contracts
    Unrestricted Free Agency at 28 Years old or 9 years of professional service
    Contracts capped at six years with no more than a 20% difference in salary from season to season.

  9. claysbar - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    This has never made sense to me when it comes to the timing of CBA talks. It’s Mid September, pre-season starts in a few days, you maybe have to fill a spot or two with your prospects and hey by the way, in two weeks, Boston needs to get rid of $17.4 mill in cap space, and still flush out a team. Not a Boston fan, but they have the most spent as of right now. In contract years, they really need to have a number to the teams by July 1st. The other years you may have minor ups or downs and it’s fairly maneuverable but how could Boston move that kind of money? You could move some of your big name guys, but you’re gonna get raped by the teams that need to hit the cap floor.

    • tomnickle - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      It won’t happen. If the league cares about the cap it will negotiate to freeze it instead of rolling it back. Rolling it back without three amnesty buyouts per team isn’t realistic.

      I suspect that the league is shooting for the stars on the cap issue in order for it being frozen or remaining untouched to become a concession on their part in negotiations.

      Example: We gave in on the salary cap issue so you need to give us a concession on Revenue terminology.

    • odj810 - Jul 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      the bruins cap isn’t completely accurate. I think they get rid of thomas to a team looking to reach the floor. They hopefully get a skate sharpener in return. Savard goes on LTIR once the season starts freeing up 9M in cap room. Even if they don’t get rid of thomas they still have 4M.

      • claysbar - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:07 PM

        I was just using them as an example, good heads up though.

  10. hitem396 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    again money…why did Bettman try to expand nhl to the south????? was he really willing to compete with nba? hockey fans dont wanna care about the money problem anymore….’bcuz of bettman’

  11. bcjim - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Seems way ambitious by the owners, and insulting honestly. If they get that, many goods players could go to Russia or elsewhere.

    Its fine to say its a initial proposal, but geez, why not just propose $10/hr and bring your own tape??

    The players should respond with an equally absurd offer…5mil min salary and an exotic masseuse for each player plus free beer.

  12. jimw81 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    How can anyone defend the owners in this situation. Bettman and owners are going down the same road the destroy the sport years ago. Why should the responsible teams be continue to be punished for the mistakes of irresponsible teams? If they can’t get themselves in financial order let them desolve from the league.

    They made this offer just test Fehr, so far they are losing.

  13. drewsylvania - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Wow. This will never, ever happen, and I think they know that. What really gets me about the owners is that they keep trying to make the union agree to rules like this…in order to curb the owners’ own runaway spending.

    Basically, they’re trying to use the union to get help for their own retail therapy.

  14. cuffhimbanano - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    This sounds familiar. I think it’s a routine cycle in the NBA – owners and GMs make poor decisions and then say they’re business model is broken and it’s the union’s fault.
    This is B.S. and I don’t care if Fehr and the players have to dig in for what could be a lengthy work stoppage. I have no sympathy for the NHL owners at this point.

  15. nujerzfan - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    It’s early……….and the NHL is posturing. But I get this sense that a lockout, or strike or any work stoppage is looking more and more likely.

    • nujerzfan - Jul 15, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      And don’t forget the Wild’s hypocrite owner.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        Hey just because he said that he’d never give out ludicrous contracts and that his team loses money because of players salaries and that the league needs to get this under control before handing out $196 million to two players doesn’t make him a hypocrite…oh wait, no it does, never mind.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 15, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      I’m not sure it’s posturing, it’s probably just haggling. This is the owners going “$52 mil OBO” and then the bidding war begins. They know there’s no way the NHLPA is gonna settle on that. The cap was meant to enforce and ensure parity, and parity now exists. If you’re a naysayer, look no further than the fact that most teams just try to get into the playoffs because they know that it’s often anyone’s game after that. Even the worst teams are frequently no further than a few pieces away from being a playoff contender. The cap will most likely go down but $52 mil is not a realistic cap ceiling. I could see $60-65 mil, or maybe they’ll just raise the cap floor. Just my thoughts. I’m just waiting for the white smoke like everyone else.

  16. smgraff4 - Jul 15, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Don’t be surprised if the KHL gets a nice TV contract in the USA. That is because that is where the power in international hockey looks like it is going to shift, with these numbers.

    • thomaspratt - Jul 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      I’d like to see the CBC get the rights to televise a CHL game or two a week.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      During the 04-05 lockout Sportsnet tried showing Swedish Elite League games and it was horrible to watch, like watching two New Jersey teams play during the height of the trap era. If the were to show KHL games hopefully they’d be more entertaining.

      thomaspratt: Sportsnet already shows one or two CHL games a week, not sure if the CBC can get in on that or if Sportsnet has an exclusive contract.

  17. smgraff4 - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    KHL games definitely are more entertaining, even more so than a lot of NHL games. The KHL actually will be broadcast in English with the intent of being shown in Canada/the USA (but the focus is in Canada for live games/shows). You can also watch full games or highlights for free if you can’t get the KHL network on their Youtube channel. It will be tape-delayed though. But tape-delayed is a lot better for North American schedules anyhow.

    When I meant that the KHL would snap up more players, I meant North American players, or players that would otherwise play in the NHL but want a bigger payday, or play more wide-open hockey.

    Games aren’t always that wide-open, but even the terrible teams (insert Vityaz Chekhov), are entertaining. Vityaz just decides, more often than not, to fight rather than play hockey. Entertaining on both ends—even though they aren’t very sportsmanlike.

  18. dannythebisforbeast - Jul 15, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    That’s what happens when Matt Carle starts making 6 mil a year.

  19. stakex - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Its pretty obvious whats happening here.

    At the end of the day, only one side has a big goal aside from money and its the owners. They want to do a realignment in 2013, and the players have to agree to it. The problem the owners have is that the players have already taken realignment hostage to use in negotiations over the money. So how are the owners respoding? Taking the money hostage of course.

    In the end, I’m not worried yet. These are out there demands the owners know they will never come close to. Its all about trying to get as much as they can from the players, and making their position seem better then it is.

  20. jernster21 - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    As ludicrous as the initial proposal sounds, Bettman is the spokesman for the NHL owners, he’s doing his job to present what the owners want. Will all of that happen? No. Just like any negotiation, you start high and try to find a middle ground – are they going to get what they want especially after a year long lock out last time around? Probably not. This is what I see happening: players keeping 52-53% of revenue, certain loop holes covered up such as front loaded contracts (in the form of max years and % differential from 1st year to last year), fixing situations that resulted in the Schultz fiasco, conference realignments and possibly adding an additional year to entry level deals. I also suspect this season would be grandfathered in under the current CBA because realigning conferences/divisions would affect the already created schedule I think, and with a reduction in revenue, teams would only have a month to meet a lowered salary cap (Boston would be super screwed unless they did something with Tim Thomas’ and Savard’s contracts).

  21. Kent - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Reblogged this on Hockey Night in Texas.

  22. eyeh8goodell - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    This isn’t the NBA or NFL. The players aren’t going around with 20 man entourages, living in 30 room mansions, supporting 10 different baby mamas, or spending half their cash on bling. They are far better prepared to weather a work stoppage than their NBA/NFL counterparts, and probably better off than the owners. I’d give the owners a firm offer for what the players would want and then simply walk out of the room after Bettman balks and not return any calls until at least mid-September.

  23. kitshky - Jul 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    How can they honestly say this crap with a straight face …when for the past couple months the owners have been tossing out the most ridiculous contacts this league has ever seen?

    • jrsaffell - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Completely agree, the Owners have caused a lot of this.

  24. superross - Jul 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Bettman is Yiddish for douchebag!

  25. desertfan - Jul 16, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Gentlemen (and Ladies??)

    There are two items in play here:

    1- Cap
    2- Split of HRR

    One drives thr other and vice versa.
    HRR is going up-hence the annual increase in the Cap.
    The Cap moves because the Split does’nt.

    For the Cap to be reduced and with HRR increasing then the Split must also change.

    This proposal is really about a change to the Split which could be done gradually over time -say 5 years.

    The Owners have already announced the new Cap for 12-13 and I cannot see a legal out from that # so faaback position for Owners is Cap stays at 12-13 as announced and fluctaates as it has- probably flat or down slightly based on a higher Split to the Owners.

  26. bigbadass - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    A second season without hockey is on the horizon. Thank god for the NBA, coverage is better anyway. But guess what, they got us to come back after the first lost season so I’m sure they think they can do it again. I hope we make them pay.

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