Skip to content

Bettman defends NHL’s first offer

Nov 19, 2012, 1:21 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

One of the words NHL critics like to use when describing the league’s first offer to the NHLPA is “draconian,” which can be defined as excessively severe or cruel.

The offer, presented in July, called for the players’ share of league revenue to be cut from 57 percent to 43 percent, along with a number of restrictions on player contracting.

But on Sunday, commissioner Gary Bettman refuted the idea the proposal was overly aggressive and, consequently, a mistake.

“I think the view some have of our first offer is fairly naive as it relates to collective bargaining,” Bettman told the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday. “A sophisticated negotiator would have looked at it and said, ‘Obviously they want a 50-50 split.’ If we’re at 57 and they propose 43, they must be telegraphing where they want to end. If your intention was to use it in an inflammatory way, you could do that. If your intention was to make a deal, you could pretty much chart out what the course should be.”

At the time of the offer, Canucks goalie Cory Schneider seemed to echo Bettman’s take.

“I think the only thing I can say is it’s a first offer,” Schneider told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s a starting point. We’re going to consider it and figure out what our counter proposal is going to be. Yes, it is a little shocking when you first look at it but, again, that’s how negotiations work. You aim high and then try to move back from there.”

But NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has since said that the offer left him “considerably disappointed,” and it’s become clear the players have used it as a rallying point.

So even if Bettman’s intention was to telegraph the NHL’s end goal, if instead it was used to embolden the players and led them to distrust the league even more, it’s hard to see how it helped the process.

Like Frank Luntz says, “It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.”

Latest Posts
  1. Quick: Pacioretty is ‘the most underrated player’

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:40 PM EDT

    Max Pacioretty Getty Images

    It blows the Kings goaltender’s mind that he’s not talked about more, so let’s discuss him.

  2. Canucks hand Weisbrod assistant GM job, make further front office changes

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    canucks logo

    He used to have that role with the Calgary Flames.

  3. Sens want to see if Hoffman ‘can do it again’

    Aug 4, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    Mike Hoffman Getty Images

    They signed him to a one-year deal while fellow breakout rookie Mark Stone got a three-year contract.

  4. Canucks ink Brandon Sutter to five-year, $21.875 million extension

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:28 PM EDT

    Brandon Sutter Getty Images

    Jim Benning follows through after calling him a “foundation piece.”

  5. Poker star Daniel Negreanu plans to buy slice of Vegas franchise

    Aug 4, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Daniel Negreanu Getty Images

    Assuming of course Bill Foley succeeds in his attempt to bring the NHL to Sin City.

  6. Red Wings ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Where should we set the bar post-Babcock?

  7. Poll: Can Detroit make it 25 straight playoff runs?

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings AP

    Yes, it’s the inevitable, perennial Red Wings question.

  8. NHL unveils ‘historic’ digital media rights deal with MLBAM

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Beyond Sport United 2015 Getty Images

    MLBAM will handle NHL.com, Center Ice, Game Center Live and the NHL Network in 2016.

  9. Red Wings’ biggest question: goaltending

    Aug 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    howardmrazekgetty Getty Images

    Can Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek get it done, collectively?

  10. Caps GM provides positive injury updates for Backstrom, Orpik

    Aug 4, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    The skilled Swede may or may not be ready to start the season.

  11. Looking to make the leap: Dylan Larkin

    Aug 4, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Dylan Larkin Getty Images

    He’s already made a positive impression on Jeff Blashill.

  12. Under Pressure: Jeff Blashill

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwfin2ixyjjjywfizwyynmm3n2fkyjmwztaynmzly2y1 AP

    Mike Babcock’s act is a tough one to follow.

  13. It’s Detroit Red Wings Day at PHT

    Aug 4, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Petr Mrazek AP

    The book has closed on the Mike Babcock era.

  14. Avs-Red Wings alumni game to feature Sakic, Forsberg, Shanahan, Lidstrom

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One Getty Images

    The squads will feature players that were part of either organization from 1996-2002

  15. Sharks re-sign Aaron Dell after strong AHL campaign

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    Aaron Dell Getty Images

    He’ll be fighting to be seen as the team’s third-string goaltender.

  16. What does Jack Eichel mean to the Buffalo Sabres?

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Jack Eichel Getty Images

    He’s already improved the perception of the franchise, but will he have that kind of impact long-term?

  17. MacLellan doesn’t think summer additions have to take from Johansson

    Aug 3, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Marcus Johansson Getty Images

    He’ll have a tough time maintaining a top-six role though.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (1401)
  2. E. Fehr (1139)
  3. N. Bonino (1136)
  4. J. Voracek (1072)
  5. J. Toews (1066)