“We studied the (Players’ Association) proposal extensively and we discussed it with each of our 30 clubs. The unanimous conclusion was the Union’s proposal does not work. It is dramatic in its immediate, short-term impact, but is fatally flawed as a system going forward.” Words spoken by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman as he addressed the media following bargaining talks between the NHL and it’s Players’ Union Tuesday afternoon.
Even with the Union offering a 24 per cent rollback, current salaries would account for 56.6 per cent of league’s revenue generated this past season. What the NHL proposed yesterday was a capped 54 percent of revenues directed to player salaries, thus providing cost certainty to its owners. This means that the 2004-05 maximum team salary would be $38.6 million (the world deals in USD, and so do we). This figure is somewhat twenty million dollars less than the Maple Leafs paid the high flying Robert Reichel, Trevor Kidd and other such losers in 03-04.
Where the Union offered an across the board salary roll back, the league adjusted that to be weighted for different salary brackets with the players in the lowest bracket feeling zero effect, and the high priced star players with salaries in excess of five million seeing an immediate 35 percent cutback in their current contracts.
The league’s proposal would mean that over 91 percent of the current players would be subjected to a cutback less than the 24 percent their Union earlier proposed, as the league’s proposal cuts back that amount to those in the 2 million to 4 million dollar range.
As expected, Union big dog Bob Goodenow rejected the league’s proposal with both haste and contempt, which leads onlookers to speculate that Goodenow doesn’t like Bettman. The difference between 54% and 56.6% should have left room for discussion. However the insistence on a salary cap versus an open market shows us that the NHLPA had different intentions involved with their proposal. Give me a Kit-Kat, Goodenow!