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11-29-2004, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Edge
But as I say all the time, that is a two way street you're going down. The same thing could easily be said about the players union {or any union in general for that matter}. A lot of the guys making lesser money are hinting they don't totally agree with the union {and in the past many of the league's more colorful personalities have done the same} but they are quickly silenced. The whole point of a union is to get everyone on the same page because there is greater strength in numbers. On the flip side of your comments there are the same percentage of players who would be more willing to listen to a cap idea.
We've had a few players speak out, and I don't doubt that there are more that feel the same way but stay quiet, but remember that the NHLPA is composed of ~700 members. If 300-400 players felt that the cap was acceptable, then Goodenow would feel the pressure. As of right now, We've had a few fringe players speak out. For right or wrong (I'm not touching that issue with a ten-foot pole), the NHLPA, as it stands now, is looking out for the elites, because it is the players with elite talent that make the NHL and the NHLPA what it is.

But I really doubt that the percentage of players willing to play under the $31 million cap is even close to the percentage of owners that would be willing to run a team under a reasonable luxury tax/soft cap system.

Because in reality the only issue that both sides really cant agree on is the cap issue. Everything else is a back issue. The main issue and the main point of contention is the idea of a salary cap. If you notice neither side is talking about junior eligibility or waivers or any other issue, they are talking about the cap. If the players aren't willing to have one and the owners aren't willing to give in on that point, what exactly do you want them to negotiate?
You have to negotiate something. Negotiating in good faith means that you make an effort to bridge the gap without destroying yourself in the process. Bettman has not made any effort. Just like a good offer from the NHLPA could cause some movement in the owners, a good offer from the league, even with a salary cap, could spark some movement among the players. Bettman seems to be doing everything he can to kill the season. I don't expect anything meaningful from him until after his "drop-dead" date.

Again what do you want them to negotiate? If I ask you to shoot yourself and you say no, what are we going to haggle over? I can't have you put half a bullet in your head. The other issues really arent that far off because frankly neither side was unhappy with them. The whole issue is about one point: a CAP. If you take that one issue out of play the rest of the discussion becomes a mute point because hockey is being played right now.

The players will propose a revenue sharing system but that idea doesn't even hold water because frankly hockey does not generate enough. So essentially it goes back to my bullet in the head analogy. You refuse to shoot yourself, i say i won't agree to any deal that doesn't include it and you counter by saying "let's go eat ice-cream". That isn't a negotiation, that is a positioning tactic. The players know that at the end of the day there are a lot of bubble guys and average NHL'ers who need the money a lot more than the top 15% of the players. They also know that if the case does go to the NLRB that the league will say "both sides are happy with all the main points of the last labor agreement but can't agree on a salary cap". That is true and the players admit that when they dont bring up other issues {Which would be a smarter idea if they want to help their case}. It's all about positioning and right now the league {right, wrong or indifferent} has the advantage.
That's a poor analogy. I find it hard to believe that the NHL will cease to be if the new CBA institutes any kind of system where a team can spend $31,000,000.01. Again, I don't think the sides are as opposite as the hardliners in each camp claim. A strong proposal from either side could shake things up in the ranks of the other.

And I believe that the league and the PA agreed not to discuss other issues until the economic issues were settled. So if things continue down this path and they wind up in front of the NLRB, the players could air other grievances, stating that they never got a chance to discuss them because the cap/no cap issue became so stagnant because the league was unwilling to negotiate.

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