Breaking Sports

Monday, July 04, 2005

nhl- Getting Closer

from the NY Times (tues. edition and reg. req.). Representatives for the National Hockey League and the N.H.L. Players' Association ignored the holiday yesterday and resumed negotiations in New York.
The sides appear to be inching closer to a new collective bargaining agreement and an end to the league-imposed lockout that resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-5 season.
"We're still working," Bill Daly, the league's executive vice president and chief legal officer, said in an e-mail message yesterday. "We're making slow progress, but it's a long process."
The sides have apparently agreed that the 24 percent rollback of existing contracts that the union offered in December will be part of any new deal. They have also agreed to include a hard salary cap, which would be set at 54 percent of league revenue and would feature maximum and minimum levels, according to people involved in the talks who did not want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
"We continue to negotiate many of the outstanding issues, while at the same time we are trying to document areas in which we have reached agreement," Ted Saskin, the senior director of the players union, said in an e-mail message. "This is a time-consuming process, and there remains a lot of work to be done. Everyone is very focused on moving the process along as best we can."
Another major issue is last year's player contracts, which involve more than a billion dollars.
In February, before N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of the season, the league's last offer was for a fixed $42.5 million salary cap over six years. That cap would have remained the same over the duration of the agreement. The league also did not offer a minimum salary threshold at that time.
Now, the sides are working toward a minimum salary threshold of about $24 million and a salary cap of $38 million to $39 million.
The major difference is that the upper limit could increase in direct proportion to any increase in league revenue.
One of the people who insisted on anonymity said last month that both sides had agreed that the 2004-5 year on player contracts "would disappear."
The rest of the article goes into rule changes and how the Rangers will handle the CBA.