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11-14-2003, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Trottier
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 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.
Interesting points. I think the system you are mentioning is similar to what the NBA has. They have their cap set as a function of league revenues. If anyone knows a bit more about the NBA's system (i.e. degroat), feel free to jump in on this if I'm incorrect.

One thing you fail to mention in the players strategy is the introduction of the luxury tax. That was the boldest move in their initial offer. If the players only offered the pay-cut, it fits your strategy, but by putting a luxury tax on the table, they're moving the discussion closer to a cap system, something that they want to avoid.

Perhaps it's a baiting strategy. I think the owners are going to be pushing for a cap pretty hard, but if they start seeing viable options wiht a luxury tax, and a pay-cut, it may start to take them off their focus of a hard cap. Still, it's a lot to give up by the players this early in the negotiations.

It's impossible to say what the final outcome is going to be, but it's becoming more clear that the new CBA is going to be drastically different than the one currently in place. With both sides talking about major changes (cap by the owners, tax and paycuts by the players), the final agreement may be unrecognizable to the fans.

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