NHLPA Rolled Back One Generation With Latest CBA

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The greatest good has been served. An unpleasant public conflict in the middle of a pandemic was avoided. The next six NHL seasons will not be interrupted by labor disputes. Fans win.But even if the decorum was maintained at all times and the major disagreements between the league and the union were generally kept behind closed doors, this did not prevent the NHL from using this COVID-19 crisis to obtain an ABC which comes closest to the 2004 league. -05 vision of how his rigid cap works.

The NBA is a player’s league. The NFL is a coaching league. The NHL is an owner’s league. Never has this been further strengthened than by these negotiations that, frankly, Gary Bettman and the board won when they closed the league 15 seasons ago and downplayed if not co-opted, and co-opted if not broken, the union.

The NHLPA has negotiated on stagnating wages for the next four to six to eight seasons essentially so that players can be in a lower tax bracket. Is this how you negotiate your contract? The union not only puts controls on the ceiling during the pandemic, but for the duration of the CBA.

This season, the ceiling is therefore $ 81.5 million. In 2024-25, there is a chance it could reach $ 84.5 million. This represents a 3.68% increase in average wages over six seasons. How much – by allowing the economy to regain its health once the coronavirus is under control – do you think that the team assessments will increase during this period?

We have become so used to the money going up in this society, we don’t even blink anymore. But you know what? If that’s what players want, that’s what they have. They agreed to take money, and more money, out of the system. A flat ceiling lowers wages and opportunities for free agents and makes it more difficult for successful teams to remain intact. This is Nirvana for Sixth Avenue, which faces no pressure from any constituency to increase its revenues. The owners have their 50 percent.

The teams will adapt. Those who are well managed will succeed. Those who are not will not be. Fans get six years of workers’ peace. The owners rake. And the players …

Well, let me tell you about the players. This generation has made the next one more difficult. This generation transformed the union into an association led by stars. There was evidence of this with the split of the PA take from the 2016 World Cup further strengthened by this agreement which works to the advantage of renowned players with expensive long-term contracts and big budget players on their final contracts.


Here’s what happens when the NHL, an operation that values ​​secrecy, meets the NHLPA – whose executive director, Don Fehr, is a privacy fanatic (see: MLB, PEDs):

A news outage regarding player injuries and health.

In other words, if the NHL and the NHLPA are successful, and if Connor McDavid is not on the ice one day this week, the powers that be will not say if he has a groin tension, an injury to the ankle or if it has tested positive for COVID-19. We will not know if it could be absent for one day, two or two weeks. Because if they identify a McDavid ankle problem, how do they explain it when they say nothing about a teammate who may have tested positive?

Don Fehr
Don FehrGetty Images

Don’t give me privacy or HIPAA. We knew which players had mumps when this epidemic spread to the league in 2014-2015. We know when a player has the flu. We know that Brian Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in September 2017. We know that Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in December and has just completed chemotherapy. When Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the ice during a game this year, we were aware of the medical procedures undergone by the Saint Louis defender and we were kept informed of his condition.

But you know what we don’t always know? When a player has a concussion. Because it’s not good for the league.

Do you know what we don’t know? How many players are positive for COVID-19 or become symptomatic. But others will. The player’s organization will know. His teammates will know it. If there is a positive during the training camp, those who are in contact with it will know.

It is therefore not a question of confidentiality. This is not to inform the public who, by the way, has the right to know if this Stanley Cup tournament is contested for legitimate reasons. The league is asking the public to trust its protocols and believe that playing against a pandemic – with all the necessary precautions – is responsible. They – the league and the union – just don’t trust you.

There is also the issue of gambling. The NHL has agreements with three gambling concerns – MGM Resorts, William Hill and Fan Duel. You want to tell me if the Leafs John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly contract the coronavirus towards the end of the camp and are excluded from the qualification round by doctors, the league would not tell anyone?


In addition to the owners, Seattle is the ABC’s biggest winner. If GM Ron Francis cannot build a consistent competitor from $ 81.5 million of ceiling space, there is no hope for him.

Among the free agents eligible in 2021, the year when the (hopeful) pilots start to play, are Alexander Ovechkin, Dougie Hamilton, Gabriel Landeskog, Josh Brodin, Adam Larsson, Jordan Binnington and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A year later, Aleksander Barkov and Seth Jones could hit the market.


The most curious aspect of hiring by the Devils of Lindy Ruff is that those who are steeped in analytics overwhelmingly disparage the veteran coach, but the analysis department is as influential in New Jersey’s hierarchy as any NHL organization.


Finally, Slap Shots learned that Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, who also owns the Marriott Water Street across from the arena, offered to close the hotel to the public and transform it into a bubble-like environment for gamers. and their families for both. weeks of training camp.

It is not known if this would have been a violation of the CBA, or if the league or union would have opposed, but the team leaders told general manager Julien BriseBois that they appreciated the offer but felt that it was not necessary.

But this is another example of forward thinking from Tampa Bay. This of course helps when you own the hotel across the street.

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