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10-21-2012, 10:02 AM
Change is good.
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Forget the owners' previous offers. Their last offer, at last, at least began to address the players' stance. The players' No. 1 principle has been "no rollback;" the owners came up with the "make whole" provision, making up for money lost on current contracts with deferred payments. The players have been willing to take less of future growth; the owners offered 50 percent of HRR. The players have asked for more revenue sharing; the owners offered $200 million – up from the $140 million from last season, not far from the $240 million the players have proposed. (Funny, you don't hear the players talk so much about that issue anymore, when that was their moral high ground before.) The players have resisted changes in contracting rules; the owners backed off a bit.

The players don't like the "make whole" provision, because it comes out of their future share. It's players paying players, not owners paying players. Well, they could have proposed that it come out of the owners' share instead. They didn't. The players could have negotiated descending percentages of HRR – going from, say, 54 down to 50 – which would still increase their pay in the long run based on their projections, which are more optimistic than the league's. They didn't. They could have tweaked the rest of the owners' proposal. They didn't. They just said no, at least according to the NHL.

By holding out, the players got the owners to make two straight proposals, to negotiate against themselves, to get about where we thought they were headed all along. Kudos. They created an opportunity.

They didn't seize it. They blew it.

My point exactly.

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