NHL offers the players a 50/50 split

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2012 11:21AM

According to multiple reports, the NHL has made a new offer to the players’ association during their meeting today. One portion the proposal is the offer of a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players.

The following via TSN:

The NHL put a new offer on the bargaining table for the NHL Players' Association on Tuesday morning, which includes a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue and contingent on an 82-game season beginning Nov. 2.

So, under the NHL offer, we'd see a slightly more compact schedule, but the league would still get in a full 82 games, which is good news for everyone involved. The part that will likely be hard to swallow is the NHL's demand that players drop to 50 percent immediately, rather shifting gradually to that figure over a year or two.

The really interesting component of the deal is that it appears the league would pay players for a full season, if an 82-game schedule is possible once the deal is agreed to. From Elliotte Friedman:

I'd expect the key thing for players to discuss is what sounds like an NHL offer to "return" whatever is lost on their salaries this season.

Meanwhile, Donald Fehr tells the media that the proposed CBA would be at least a six year deal, and that the players will discuss the new offer at a 5 PM conference call. For now, he seems to be keeping his comments short, but he did say that the NHLPA would get back to the owners on this new offer soon - by Tuesday or Wednesday.
 
My initial reaction is that this obviously won't be the final offer that gets things settled, but this might be the offer that kickstarts earnest negotiations on key financial issues. If the players are willing to accept 50 percent of hockey-related revenue, or something in the ball park, this should trigger a counter-proposal from them, with my guess being that they target both the implementation period (in other words: asking for a gradual reduction to 50/50 rather than a sharp step down) and the 50 percent total.
 
These negotiations have been frustrating for everyone, but this is a perfect example of why constant talks are preferable to total silence - eventually, one side or the other will say something that catches the attention of their counterparts. Hockey fans longing for a 2012-13 season just need to hope that this is the offer that finally catches the players' interest. 
 
If it doesn't, that's probably the last hope for a full 82-game campaign. And if the league starts cutting games permanently, that's exactly the sort of thing that could lead to worse offers the rest of the way.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including the Edmonton Journal, Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.