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LeBrun: CBA talks set to enter “crucial” period

Sep 18, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT

Bettman and Fehr Getty Images

If the NHL and NHLPA are going to make big gains in CBA negotiations, it probably needs to happen in the next 7-10 days,* Pierre LeBrun reports.

Otherwise, LeBrun anticipates a “freezing out” period similar to what happened during the last lockout when the sides didn’t have meaningful discussions for three months.

LeBrun highlights this summer’s temporary $70.2 million salary cap ceiling as one of the main divides between the players and owners:

To add context to this disagreement, consider what happened in late June as an important precursor to this. At that point, both sides confirmed to ESPN.com that the NHL approached the NHLPA and asked it to consider freezing the salary cap at $64.3 million, the number which was in effect for the 2011-12 season, instead of raising it for the July 1 start of free agency.

The league’s view was that raising the cap for this past offseason was an artificial inflation of the cap given that a new CBA was in the offing. Not surprisingly, the NHLPA declined the offer, very much in its rights under the expiring CBA to have the salary cap increase July 1 according to corresponding revenues. As such, the salary cap went up to $70.2 million for the July 1 opening of the market, and some teams went ahead and spent like drunken sailors.

From that moment on, the league and owners were intent on recouping some of that money in the ensuing CBA talks.

While there aren’t official meetings planned just yet, Darren Dreger reports that the players’ and owners’ reps spoke today and expect to do the same on Tuesday.

If LeBrun’s sources are correct, the two sides need to pick up the pace.

* – The preseason is supposed to start on Sept. 23, by the way.

  1. pkswally024 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    I’m sorry, how can you go several month with out any discussions. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean it does but, does that make it any less ridiculous?

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Based on a Prime Time Sports interview I heard from yesterday with Bill Daly it really sounds to me like the owners would sign off immediately on a 50/50 deal, however it also sounds like the players in exchange for this want the owners to introduce a much more comprehensive revenue sharing plan so that the league isn’t asking the players to “reset” things every 8 or so years. And to me that makes sense, you can’t ask the players to pay for teams bleeding money if the owners of other teams aren’t willing to help those teams themselves.

    Call me crazy, but I think the owners blink first (assuming they don’t start fighting with each other) and this thing is settled by October 1.

    • snowman218 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      Similar to what I was pointing out the other day .. “For the fact that the owners think that just by lowering the cap that this will fix all the problems .. well they already did that 7 years ago and that did help grow the league but, not every single team. Bettman saying that revenue sharing is not a Big Deal, well .. if every team had the same amount of money we wouldn’t be in this position would we. (It’s Owners vs. Owners here folks), they just think it’s them vs the Players.”

      • tmoore4075 - Sep 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        I agree it’s owners vs owners. I’m not saying the players are totally innocent here but it’s mainly an owner issue. The small markets, by small I mean struggling markets cause NYI and PHX aren’t exactly small, need more help. The big markets don’t have much of a problem with the current deal cause they are still making their money and probably love the big cap to be able to spend. The small clubs probably would be ok with the current deal if they got money in revenue sharing. However I’m sure the big boys in DET, BOS, PHI, MONT, TO and others don’t want to share. It’s their money so the easiest way for them is just cut spending on players. They would still have an ok cap and would be pocketing even more money. While that doesn’t fix everything it helps. I like the players really pushing for revenue sharing cause they know a stronger 30 team league is better for them too.

        There is common ground to be had here I think it’s just both sides need to be willing to do it. I’m not sure their egos are small enough. I hope they both aren’t stupid enough to let a season be lost. That would be killer. I’m hoping by Thanksgiving but I’m not optimistic.

  3. blomfeld - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Total garbage ! … the 2012-2013 season will commence by the US Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, latest … all of this “he said, she said” back & forth rubbish is nothing more than semantics …

  4. jhuck92 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Talks weren’t considered “crucial” when the CBA was expiring?

    • manchestermiracle - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      My sentiment exactly. The headline alone aptly illustrates the problem here. Watching your house burn down and not thinking it’s “crucial” until it nears the beer stash is just beyond stupid.

  5. irokkit - Sep 19, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Imagine if the owners were surgeons. These guys would cut themselves to practice suturing…without an anesthetist!!!
    These guys are smart enough to millionaires, yet they allow the most arrogant and narrowminded comments come out on press releases. The last few days of media attention to what the owners say just really pisses me off. I am beginning to resent professional sports. And some of the players are no better. If they’re going to squawk about taking a 7% pay cut on $7 million. I got news for you take it!!!!!! Even if it were 7% on $100,000 take it!!!! I’m sure if they were only making 100 grand most of them could sit still live on $93,000

  6. tmoore4075 - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    According to one report, upon arrival in Switzerland Rick Nash said he expect the lockout to last the whole season…great. So the players are expecting it. “We want to play! but only if we get the deal we want.” Owners: “We want hockey!…but only if we get the deal we want.” Fans: “We want to watch and want a deal that is equitable for both sides!” NHL/NHLPA in response: “We are united and will lose a whole season to prove it and don’t care if fans miss us.”

    That sounds about right.

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