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11-13-2003, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Which is it? The NHLPA offer is designed to force the hand of the owners. If they are telling the truth, the players are willing to meet them halfway. If they are lying, the players get locked out.

So, if the owner's don't accept the players first offer, it means they are lying? How does that work?

By offering an immediate paycut, and introducing a luxury tax into the mix, the players are opening the door to a less favourable CBA than what they have now.

By offering a 5% pay cut now, the players are opening the door to the owners countering with something more, like a 10%, 15% maybe even a 20% paycut. Yes, those could be temporary, but it's still takes time for the payrolls to adjust to that. In the short term, it would be a costly move for many players.

The introduction of a luxury tax is also crucial. We don't know the metrics of it, but it's on the table now. Even if it's a very "loose" tax, that will not have much of an impact, bringing it into the negotiations now means that if a tax does go in, they players would have to accept a harsher tax in order to meet the owners halfway. Such a tax will have a permanent downward pressure on salaries (as opposed to the temporary ones offered by the salary reduction).

If the players were as skeptical as you are, then why wouldn't they hold firm on the current CBA, and only start discussing any form of cost control near the later stages in negotiations. It's what the players did in baseball. They were reluctant to agree to any form of cap or tax. Only near the end of the negotiations did they agree to a tax. The result was a tax that would optimistically only impact a handful of teams, and do little to slow down the escalation of salaries. It was a very successful tactic for them.

That's why I was suprised by the players first offer. Based on their comments, I thought they were going to fight tooth-and-nail for every little change to the CBA. Instead, they are suggesting some fairly drastic changes. If they truly felt that the current CBA was fair, and was in the best interest in the game, I don't think would be so quick to stray from it.

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