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Daly: the system works, the split doesn’t

Sep 17, 2012, 5:16 PM EDT


Say what you will about the NHL, but at least you know exactly where the league stands in its labor dispute with the NHLPA. It’s real simple – the owners want a higher share of the league’s revenue. And they’re not going to apologize for it.

Even though league revenues are at an all-time high?


Even though it’s the owners who are signing the players to enormous contracts?


Even though the last CBA – the one that cost the NHL an entire season – was supposed to fix the league’s problems?


Can’t you see how that would upset the players and the fans?


Wait, why are you locking out the players again?

“The system itself is something we think has worked very, very well,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly Monday on FAN 590 in Toronto. “I think it’s made our league more competitive than it’s ever been, and I think the product is as good as it’s ever been. I think the revenues we’ve been able to generate are a testament to the fact the system itself works very, very well.”


“As it’s turned out, 57 percent of the revenues going to the players is too high.”

Daly understands how it looks when owners shell out millions in contracts then in the next breath ask the players to make concessions. But that’s what happens when teams are competing with each other on the ice.

“It’s the individual mindset versus the collective mindset,” he said. “It’s the league’s job to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that’s going to work for all of us.

“As long as you have a current system and ‘we’re entitled to do this and it’s going to make us more competitive and may lead to competitive success,’ they’re going to do what they’re going to do under the current rules.”

Daly does, however, deny it’s just a handful of teams that are in financial trouble due to player salaries.

“Our issue is we’re paying too much, as a league, to the players as a whole,” he said. “This is not a four- or five-team issue, and that’s what the players’ association would want you to believe.”

Fortunately, Daly believes the two sides are closer than they were prior to the 2004-05 lockout.

“It’s a totally different negotiation,” he said. “We hadn’t really negotiated over anything in 04-05 at this point. The issue was a cap system or not a cap system. Until one side or the other agreed to the other’s position, there was no negotiation really.

“At least at this point the players’ association has said they’ll maintain the cap. It’s an economic negotiation. In my view, on that front, it’s a much simpler negotiation.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

Related: Don’t blame owners for trying to win

  1. bhawksrule - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    What BS from this ugly face

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Well then you tell me, if we don’t reduce the players share how are we going to pull the ducks, the stars, the islanders, the coyotes, and the blue jackets into the black?

      If we consolidate a few of the teams like many of us think they should, the union will complain about the league eliminating jobs.

      If we increase revenue sharing to reflect baseball you will have one or multiple teams act like the pittsburgh pirates and suck up other teams revenue so they don’t have to spend their own……and 20 years of losing isn’t fair to any group of fans.

      And if we eliminate the salary cap the maple leafs, the rangers, the flyers, the wings, and the canadians, will simply outspend everyone.

      If your OK with multiple versions of the Yankees and Red six then you obviously are OK with that but in the end its not good for the other 25 teams and their fans.

      It’s easy to condemn the league and the owners, but we’re not dealing with terrible work conditions for the players. Fehr has no interest in the health of the league or the sport, he is there to protect the player’s pay and right now they’re pay (previously agreed upon or not) still has multiple teams in the red.

      Everyone involved is greedy and wrong and the only solution is to reduce the players share.

  2. id4joey - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Enough with the name calling. Can someone tell us why they accepted to give the players 57% of the pie?

    • tatdue - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      It was in exchange for the cap on their earning ability as well as the 24% rollback on salaries they gave back to the owners…plus 750 players – 30 owners…..This was the cost certainty that Bettman and the owners said was what they needed to make each and every team successful!…Given that salaries are now tied to revenue salaries have only gotten larger because revenue has climbed accordingly…Now Bettman says that jet fuel and what not have got more expensive so they need, sorry want to swing the scale the other way and the players were willing……Then Bettman said oh ya, that has to be in effect immediately so you players have to give us back another 24% of your salaries, even though a 50/50 split would be fair we’re asking to flip it on the players and make it 57-43 for the owners now and, rookie contracts are going to be 5 years now, they don’t have the right to argue the amount of their contracts any more because we are taking away arbitration and all players have to play in the league for 10 years before they are allowed to market their value as a player…since the average career length in the NHL is 4-5 years that would all but eliminate free agency……Don’t be fooled what the owners want is just wrong…That said I don’t think that the owners will allow a season to go by while taking such a ludicrous stance….they will give in but they are going to try to get what ever they can in the meantime…..How about that, I explained that without even calling Daly a tool or calling Bettman an evil little Turd! Does that cover it for ya?

      • blomfeld - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        @Tatdue – a terrific post friend ! … your remarks abound with fact and unbiased analysis throughout and never for a second do you ever stray from the truth … like you, I also agree that the current revenue split of 57/43 percent in favor of the players is just completely wrong … no one should be made to work under such barbaric conditions and no one should ever be short-changed in such a shameless and one-sided way ! … not sure about you, but I think that something along the lines of 75/25 in favor of the players would be a little more appropriate … don’t you agree ? … anyway, great job friend speaking up for the downtrodden players ! :)

      • tealwithit - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

        Okay but you’re going off of their initial proposal, which was obviously outrageous. They don’t expect to get anything near what they asked for – that’s just where they started so that they could then meet in the middle at the end. Which would be roughly a 50-50 split, and will likely include few if any of the other things. I’m sure they’ll push for a change in contract lengths, entry level contracts, and salary arbitration, but those won’t be make-or-break issues.
        In the NHL’s latest proposal, players would take an 8% pay cut, not 24%. One of the problems with the PA’s proposed system is that it’s based on the assumption that league revenues will continue to grow at the rate of 7.1%… So if they only grow by, say 5%, that means the difference between the two proposals will increase by $80 million a season (to $290 million instead of $210 million). That sort of uncertainty doesn’t make their offer all too appealing.
        So, going back to the first paragraph… You may actually be at least somewhat in agreement with the owners. (You did say a 50-50 split would be fair.) No way to know for sure, though, because all we’re privy to at the moment is the PR posturing. Personally, I’d like to see the owners suck it up and agree to gradually decrease the players’ percentage over the duration of the CBA, without lowering their share from the current $1.87 billion.

      • phillyphanatic76 - Sep 18, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        That was a very apt breakdown. I think the owners OKed all the huge contracts handed out at the 11th hour, right before the CBA expired, because they expect the players salaries to be reduced in the next agreement. And that’s a pretty backhanded business move. I don’t understand how Daly can acknowledge that the owners are being hypocrites in one breath then continue on like that doesn’t affect the bottom line of what they’re trying to accomplish. This article just confirms most of our assumptions about the fans being meaningless in the leagues quest to rule hockey related revenue unequivocally. Makes me dislike Bettman, Daly, and the owners even more.

  3. spongebobsportspants - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Said it before and I’ll say it again, what an arrogant SOB.

  4. alexb64 - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I had a dream where after they couldn’t reach a deal by the deadline it went to an impartial 3rd party arbitrator who couldn’t hear a convincing argument from the owners on why the deal was unfair & ruled that the current deal needed to be extended indefinitely until the circumstances changed. I was disappointed to wake up & remember it really comes down to these two sides coming to an agreement.

  5. avscanes - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    the players are going to khl where they will still make alot of money. the owners are digging in. this will be a long lockout. doesnt anyone care about the fans?

    • TestSubjekt - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      The players that won’t be able to get jobs in the KHL or other European leagues want to play hockey. The best place for them to do that would be the NHL so I think these players care about the fans since it is the fans that are paying their salaries.

  6. revansrevenant - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Binding arbitration. There, I said it.

    • jimw81 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      that is a crazy idea. why didnt they think of it before?

  7. sampulls - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Players don’t care that 2/3 of teams are losing money.
    Players don’t care that owners are taking all the risk.
    Players don’t care that salary cap means more parity amongst teams.
    Players don’t care…..etc.etc.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      2/3 would be 20 teams, not 18. In addition, 15 of those 18 teams were entitled to some money from the top 10 money making teams in a form of limited revenue sharing. Something around $10M if they needed it. In addition to that, the PA proposal asks for more revenue sharing from the richest teams to the poorest, all while reducing their share down to 52.3%, with more room left to negotiate.

      Ask Savard, et. al. if the players take no risk.

      The PA proposal keeps the salary cap in place.

      The one thing the players are not budging on is giving kickbacks to the owners who signed these contracts in the first place. Now, I’m not sure about you, but if I sign a contract with someone where they agree to pay me X amount of dollars, then they come back in the future and ask for a kickback, I’d tell them to go pound sand. Maybe you’d just hand over the money.

      • phillyphanatic76 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:22 PM

        Solid points hockeydon10. It’s too bad the owners don’t want to even talk about revenue sharing b/c it’s a socialist idea and most are conservatives who preach a free market. Eventhough the owners themselves are trying wield almost total control over the system.

        The owners losing money need to take a long look at their own business practices instead of simply asking for money they invested (in the form of player contracts) to be returned. The implementation of the salary cap, according to Bettman, was supposed to eliminate all the “problems” the owners are supposedly experiencing. It didn’t so now they want even more player concessions this time around.

  8. ducksk - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    News Flash! Ask a insider, if you know one and they are honest with you. The owners actually profit during the lockout. They’ll be glad to take 30 games, have fans ravenous for the game, and like always Hope like hell you make the playoffs where the profit really is. That is honest. It’s a business to them and they are the business owners. Most are billionaires that have enough loopholes to write off the whole dam thing as a loss.
    Does that make them evil? Remember the old saying…if you have too much $ buy a hockey team. And players? They will never be happy about what they are paid and What they feel is “their fare share” that’s natural selection and in everyone. Where that leaves us as the fan? At the bottom, Playing $90 a ticket and $7. For a brewskis. It’s all BS!!!!!!

  9. zhockey - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Some people call is a sling blade. WOW this guy seriously thinks fans are idiots. So the CBA works despite what your boss says but we simple want more than what the guys at the NBA got from there labor dispute.
    When was the last time you compared Allen Iverson to Sidney Crosby. The players are a much more marketable asset to the league than the NBA. Forget the NFL, they are imploding with Goodell looking like Zeus instead of a commissioner.

    =This is simply about the old adage that states” the reason they want more is so they can make more”. The owners are the one who spent the money on contracts so they are the ones who should be extremely happy the NHLPA agrees that something must be done. Yet they act like they can’t operate with the salary cap that they established. Even this guy says it works!!!!! They just want more money and the players agree. So they are locking out the guys on there side to get what?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    More than they need faster than they need it without fixing the issue of why they need it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • therealjr - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand. The cost-certainty was at 57% and after 6 years the NHL realized that was too high.

      People talking about the contracts given out doesn’t mean a hill of beans. The fixed revenue percentage and the escrow system are designed to correct for this.

      • hockeydon10 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        The contracts given out do mean something. A contract is [supposed to be] a binding document. When both sides agree to it, both sides are expected to meet the terms of that contract. The fact that the owners signed these contracts and are now asking for a kickback is absurd, especially with the $200M in contracts given out in the last 48 hours before the previous CBA expired.

        Now, you’re correct that the 57% was too high. Even the players agree that it needs adjustment. That’s why, not even near the end of negotiations, they’ve agreed to reduce their share to 52.3%, with more haggling left in the future.

        This is what stalled negotiations. The players don’t want to give money back to the owners in one lump sum as soon as the new CBA is signed. They’re willing to reduce their share over time, while asking for revenue sharing from the richest teams to the poorest.

  10. ninerlover85 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM

  11. antmel30 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Gary bettman is a greedy pos. The players should absolutely fight this to the end. Do you realize that if a rollback happens bettman will earn more a year than Crosby. I hate Crosby but that is obsured. He is the commish not one of best players in world. Why don’t bettman start by rolling his 8 mill a year back and lead by example. Bettman had to go.

    • alexb64 - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      While I absolutely think Bettman’s legacy as commissioner needs to be defined by illogical relocations/expansion, the 4 work stoppages & being the only league to lose an entire season due to a lockout, we should keep in mind he works for the owners technically. When it comes to the CBA, he’s their employee & if they want a deal to undue to the messes they created & make more money he’s obligated to stand behind them whether he agrees with them or not. I’m not a fan of his, but I actually think if he had full control without having to answer to the owners he’d be advocating for whatever got the season to start on time.

  12. wingsrule12 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Sampulls. The owners are taking all the risk? Name 10 owners in the NHL. After that name 10 captains through out the league. How many owners are shown on commercials to hype the league. The players drive the NHL if it weren’t for them there would be no huge contract for tv or merchandise marketing. I am so sick of Bettman and Daley saying the players need to give back. Both of these a-holes need to forgo their salaries until this is settled then both need to resign

    • tealwithit - Sep 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      Who’s responsible for marketing the players, for putting them in those commercials, for making them household names, for negotiating TV deals, for establishing media relations, for putting together a team and supplying personnel and equipment, for giving the players a stage on which they can showcase their skills, win over hundreds of thousands of fans, and possibly earn endorsement deals?
      Don’t get me wrong – The players work extremely hard and take a lot of risk, and they deserve to be fairly compensated. I have no problem with professional athletes making millions. But the league/team employees (and yes, owners) do play a part in running the NHL, even if theirs aren’t the faces that we recognize. There are a whole lot more of those employees than there are players, but they’re splitting up the smaller side of the pie.

  13. tmoore4075 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    Parts of the system work. The revenue sharing doesn’t. Yeah a more equal split will help the lower end teams but the only way to make 30 teams work is with some better form of revenue sharing. I’m not saying we should keep all 30 or in their locations but it appears that’s what Bettman and the NHL want so if you want that you have to give a little on that side. I’m not sure who thought up the current revenue sharing but even back 7 years ago it didn’t make sense. The Isles and Yotes don’t get any help because of the markets they are in. How does that make sense? The Yotes were losing money back then and I’m guessing the Isles were too so you should have thought up a better system.

    I don’t like the owners backtracking after saying this deal was perfect back in 2005. I also don’t like their first offer. If you want those things whatever but it just ticked the PA off and you should have known that. But if the players are set on keeping 57% we won’t have a season. The owners need to help out but the players need to come off their stance too. Hearing Ovie saying if it takes a season then so be it or whatever he said scares me. The owners won’t give you 57% and losing a season won’t change that so what does it accomplish? So again I ask if we lose a season and the players still don’t get their 57% what was the point? I’m scared here. There is a deal to be had in the middle of both proposals I think but neither side really wants to give in.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Where do you get the idea the players are set on keeping 57% when that is not in their offer anywhere? Their current offer starts at 54.3% and drops from there to 52.3%, with more room left to negotiate. (After all, you don’t put your actual goal in the first proposal.)

      Their #1 goal appears to be no salary rollbacks; i.e. no kickbacks to the owners. It should be plain as day that they’re willing to see their percentage reduced.

      Here’s a link that talks about it.

    • phillyphanatic76 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      If anything the owners are the ones holding out for a percentage close to 57%. The players have offered close to 52/48 and are probably willing to go a little lower. It seems as if Bettman wants to flip the script on the players and will hold out until the union moves into the mid 40% range.

  14. manchestermiracle - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    There is so much hypocrisy from these two guys they must be maneuvering for a run at political office. Bettman/Daly for president/vice president! Of your local sewage treatment plant….

  15. sharksfan97 - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    When is hockey going to get its freaking act together. Two work stoppages in 7 years? Really? The NBA, NFL and MLB can figure it out and the NHL can’t? Seriously? If the NHL wants to be seen as a first class sport it had better stop behaving like a third class operation.

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