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Max contract lengths, 10-year CBA top list of unresolved issues

Dec 6, 2012, 11:28 AM EST

NHL and NHLPA logo

When Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman return to the bargaining table today in New York, the heads of the NHLPA and NHL, respectively, will face at least two major unresolved issues:

Max contract lengths: The league is reportedly refusing to budge on a five-year limit with a five percent variance on annual salary. The one exception is if players are re-signing with their current teams, in which case it would be a seven-year max. Clearly the NHL doesn’t want bidding wars for free agents to be determined by which team will offer the longest term. (Granted, there was no bidding war for Rick DiPietro, but his 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the Islanders is an extreme example of how long-term deals can go wrong.)

CBA length: The NHL has proposed a 10-year agreement (with option to opt out after eight years) and tied it to $300 million (up from $211 million) in “make whole” funds. Translation: no 10-year CBA, no $300 million. It’s not clear if the players are vehemently opposed to a lengthy CBA or if it’s more they don’t like the $300 million being dependent on it.

Despite the optimism that has accompanied talks this week, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports “there’s a hugely negative vibe emanating from both sides right now. Keeping this process on rails today will be challenging.”

Related:

NHL has reason to fight for maximum contract lengths

Ryan Miller, Jeremy Jacobs got heated — yet CBA talks continued

  1. cweez2 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I think long-term, the players need to know the benefits of a long term deal and make sure that their agreement takes advantage of those benefits as well as the league. That’s Fehr’s job.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Just put the TSN Twitter feed up here already…

  3. killerpgh - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Since NHL is demanding a 5 year max on contracts due to the risk does it make sense for the players to sign a 10 year CBA? The PA should counter with 8 years for UFA and 10 if resigning. Make sense to me.

  4. mattyo99 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I have a feeling R.Miller is gonna shut boston down this year(if there is one), just because of jacobs…i hate them even more now(flyers fan)

    • gallyhatch - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      He wasn’t able to shut Boston down last year after Lucic gave him extra motivation, why would this year be any different?

    • gallyhatch - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Shoot, now that I think about it, he wasn’t able to shut them down in the playoffs in 2010 either, when he had the Stanley Cup as motivation! So no. I don’t think your prediction comes true.

      & fwiw, I absolutely hate Jacobs, it’s unfortunate he can’t take a lesson from his NFL counterpart down in Foxboro.

  5. ironmike778 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    What it should say is “we want a 10 year CBA to take us to the next lockout”.

  6. stangz11 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Sounds to me like the owners have made all the moves the last two days. How about the players budge a little to get this thing done? You can’t expect these businessmen to bend over anymore

  7. stakex - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    There is no way they lose the season over these issues…. there is just no logic to it at all. Expect to see some movement on both of these today.

  8. lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    ““I am confused by the hard line on contracting,” Miller wrote. “My only guess is Gary wants to limit General Managers so he won’t have anymore loophole type surprises in this CBA. I understand that position to the extent you don’t want contracts to cripple a team, but they are really taking away team building as a skill. Skilled GMs will have to identify how to balance a budget instead of building a well balanced winner.””

    Well, Ryan, your other options are to either stay the course and continue to let Philly, NYR, and a handful of other teams drive up the value of players as they’re able as the cap allows, or we can go further and return to pre-2004 dynasties based purely on who spends the most money. Oh yeah, takes a lot of skill to build a winner when you’ve got a blank check to work with (unless you’re Buffalo). I’d argue that it takes even more skill to build a successful team when you can’t wrap up a star player for 10+ years. IMO 5 years is too short, but I do think there needs to be a term limits.

  9. General Lee 1175 - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    my voices in NY tell me that…………………….

    joey and dumbfeld are out on a lunch date , trying to conger up there next false rumor to post

  10. isithockeyseasonyet - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Aha you beat me to it! I was wondering what joey’s voices (inside his head) were telling him, besides how important he is

  11. mattyo99 - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I got a bad feeling about today, i was so positive about everything yesterday..

    • capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Acknowledge the roller-coaster and accept that things could change for the better just as easily as things can go sour. If you felt good yesterday and bad today, you could feel just as good tomorrow. Very poetic, I know.

  12. capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Despite the negativity, would be ridiculous to allow these two issues to end a season, especially after all the progress that has been made. I’m definitely in favor of a longer CBA…8 years?

    • General Lee 1175 - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      you really wanna half season? a season marred by ridicule and mockery from he entire planet? a season where it’s SC winner would get that dreaded asterisk ** by it’s name ?

      • islesjb - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        I haven’t once heard people diminish the Miami Heat’s NBA Championship- I don’t think it would be any different with a 56 game NHL season.

        Playoffs are still the playoffs.

      • capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        Are you asking whether I really would choose no hockey over hockey? I guarantee nobody would care about the shortened season come June. I’ll always choose games over no games and I would rather the ‘recovery’ begin now, during a shortened season, rather than next fall at the beginning of a new season.

      • Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        The NHL isnt the NBA either, big difference and make note I hate the NBA for that matter. but the reality is Strike 3 , this is the 3rd lockout , even if they do resolve this mess this week, the sport is doomed for ratings, the sport’s basically fkd

      • kitshky - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        I’ve never heard anyone put an asterisk beside New Jersey’s Cup win of ’95 …

      • Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        Thats why they chant half a cup for 95 right? , heck the devils get no respect as it is half the world doesnt even recognize they won the other 2 cups either

      • capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        I disagree. I think the ‘sport is screwed no matter what’ mentality doesn’t fly unless this drags on for a lot longer. People were saying the same things last lockout and hockey recovered. It is not that hockey won’t recover, it is the fact the the constant lockouts prevents any meaningful, consistent growth. They were in a great position 6 months ago and now they’ve been set back, again, by a lockout. Have to end the cycle.

  13. odj810 - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    take jacobs out and this deal would probably be done. i forgot how much i hated him. the bruins winning gave him a window of me liking him. That is now over.

  14. gallyhatch - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    IMHO, I really think it gets done this week. This lockout is potential suicide for the fringe markets. If they miss a whole season the Arizonas & Floridas etc. will likely never recover. I think the owners know that & are motivated to get this done ASAP.

  15. blomfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    GAME ON !!!

    The latest now is that the NHL will break from tradition by starting on Christmas Day and that tickets for these games are to be “heavily” discounted by as much as 75% ! … look for “the announcement” to be made sometime during the next 24-36 hours …

    • Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      Blom, thank you for lunch sweetheart!!!! that kiss goodbye was amazing!!!!!

      • valoisvipers - Dec 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        What a pathetic little troll you are. Try to contribute something worthwhile.

    • id4joey - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      All my sources are busy, but, when I spoke with them this morning they said not to count the chickens before they hatch. Yikes! Seriously! I’m not getting on the band wagon until these guys make a deal, and if a deal is done it’s because the players gave in, and not the other way around.

      • Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        1-800 you back-pedal !

  16. arb927 - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    It’s a shame being a flyers fan and watching all the youth on our team lose some potential and not out there playing

    • Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      too bad ya”ll dont have a goalie that’s worth a sh*it

  17. chrisvegas - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I am actually on the Owner’s side on the contract issue. I think these 10 year contracts are ridiculous. However, why not compromise and make it 7 years. Let’s just get a deal done already.

  18. vanchuk - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I think it was Stephen Brundt on Calgary radio this morning that said there are clauses in the NHL’s deals with advertising partners that stipulate if there are 60+ games, the league gets full value on the ad deals. So I think we are at that threshold now, where if we go a few more days without a deal, there won’t be enough time for 60 regular season games plus playoffs. That gives me some real optimism. The dollar is king.

    From a players perspective, every couple weeks that go by is another paycheque lost. But the way the owners would have to look at it is that as long as they get 60+ games in, they’re getting their full TV deal, their full advertising deals, and 75% of their ticket revenues. Once they pass that 60 game threshold, they lose a very substantial chunk of revenue. Although I don’t know what the lost percentage is once they fall under 60 games, I would imagine it has to be >75% of the original value, if not even lower.

    I wish some people with access to this type of information would bring it up much sooner than when we’re at the 60 game threshold. Would’ve given many of us a date to mark on our calendars and saved us the roller coaster ride of emotions that we have been on since the beginning of the lockout…although I guess emotions sell newspapers and draw listeners and viewers in

  19. joeyashwi - Dec 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    chrisvegas- I totally agree with you about the 10 year contracts being ridiculous. I can’t believe that the owners did that to themselves though. Hockey is a violent sport, why would you ever sign a player for that long? I realize they found a loophole but they were using a loophole to screw themselves. It made no sense to me.

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