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11-14-2003, 09:02 AM
  #28
Trottier
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The more i think about the player's offer to "rebate" a percentage of contracts, the more ingenius it appears to be, on several levels.

First, it is a concession, no matter how one wants to look at it. They're willing to give money back that they are rightly entitled to under their contracts.

Second, it's such a basic concept that it will be understood by most every fan and writer/commentator. Solid PR.

Finally, and most importantly IMO, it really is brilliant strategy. It, preserves the current system (no cap), which is the NHLPA's major objective. And, it puts the responsibility squarely on owners to operate their businesses more carefully, by allowing them a "do-over" of sorts, turning back the clock, albeit relatively slightly on salaries. The owners obviously want to put a drag on contracts; this does so, modestly.

So, now it's up to the owners to raise the ante and put more teeth into the proposal. Come back with a counter-offer of 15% rebate (with an eye toward settling for 10%). Likewise, propose some type of financial "threshold" formula that would trigger future rebates. The formula would have to be based on an accounting of leaguewide revenues v. % allotted toward payrolls. Radical idea, and one the NHLPA would initially reject (as a cap) but, here's the rationale: if the threshold were set high enough, such a structure would not prohibit teams from spending $. Ironically, it might incent spending.

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