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11-13-2003, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard
At this point, I think a main reason that the NHLPA is currently so opposed to a cap is because of the teams' lack of complete financial disclosure. Without verifiable, fair financial statements for all teams, as well as in depth interpretations of them, the NHL has its cost certainty, but there is no certainty whatsoever for the players and their salary limitations; the NHL gains complete control over salaries once again because THEY set the cap because ONLY THEY know what revenues (whether manipulated or not) really are.
This is where things get interesting.

The players have agreed to take a pay-cut already. To me, this is an extremely important piece of information. To me, it indicates one of the following scenarios:
1) The owners are losing money, and the players believe them
2) The owners are not losing money, yet they have convinced the players that this is the case
3) The players have not offered to take a paycut, and the information that is being leaked out has been false.
4) The owners are not losing money, but are so determined to improve their financial situation anyways, that the players have resigned themselves to the fact that they will need to make some concessions.

We've now seen a couple of sources report that this was the players offer, and nothing has been reported that it is false, from either side, so I am inclined to write-off option 3. The players are not likely to be scared off easily, so that write-offs option 4. That means that the owners have convinced the players that they are losing money.

Now, we do not know what access players have been given to the books, but I think it is quite possible that they have been given more information that what is made public. They obviously will not have the complete financial picture, but they have felt confident enough in it to make concessions. This is very indicative behaviour. Personally, I give the NHLPA a lot of credit. They won the last round of collective bargaining, and they are not idiots. I do not think that the owners would be able to convince the players that they need a pay cut without some level of substantive proof. The players probably do not believe the owners full claims of $300 million in losses, but they believe them enough to take a 5% pay cut.

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