NHL CBA Negotiations: The NHLPA Makes Their "Alternate View" Proposal

Will there soon be more smiles around the NHL? Hold your horses for just a bit.

In the saga that is the 2012 NHL CBA negotiations, the only voice we had heard was that of the NHL. Their proposal was, in a word, absurd. The alarm bells went off immediately, and the doomsday predictions began (including from this very site). Yesterday, the NHLPA put their own offer on the table, with Donald Fehr choosing not to call it a "counter proposal."

Instead, the NHLPA chief called the PA's proposal an "alternate view of the world," meaning the PA sees the financials of the league from a different angle than the owners do. That isn't surprising, but what the players proposed today did not wind up to be an attack ala the owner's proposal a month ago. Instead, the players seem have put a honest-to-goodness offer on the table, and one that, while not perfect, would certainly work as a cost structure for both sides.

See the proposal, and a couple thoughts, after the jump.

The proposal's specifics, as reported on Pro Hockey Talk:

- Proposed three-year collective bargaining agreement, with an option for a fourth. (link)

- The fourth year is an option to revert to the current CBA. (link)

- Players are willing to take a lower HHR (hockey related revenue) share over the next three years. (link)

- Current rules for player salaries, contract lengths and free agent eligibility would remain unchanged. (link)

- Deal would include a hard salary cap "with some exceptions." (link)

- One exception appears to be a luxury tax. (link)

This seems like a well structured agreement, but as with the NHL's original proposal, is unlikely to wind up the final agreement. The league likely will not like having no changes at all to contract structures, and small market teams may not like the luxury tax idea, which would (in theory) allow big market teams to spend as much as they wish, but would be required to pay money to small market teams to do so.

The fact the players are willing to take a smaller share of revenue is surprising, but I wouldn't bet on the PA accepting the owner's proposal to drop by 11 basis points.

From Larry Brooks of the New York Post on Twitter, some further details:

Clubs could go up to $4M over cap and drop to $4M under floor by adding or trading cap space re PA proposal....

NHLPA has also proposed extra draft picks for teams in financial trouble that could be used, traded or sold, Post has learned...

PA also has proposed that NHL establish a limit on non-player spending by teams

Not sure I can agree with rewarding teams losing money with extra picks. I get the premise behind it, but it just gives another reason to owners to work the system to show a loss. The trading of cap space is an interesting concept, though.

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens now, as both sides remain at the bargaining table for the next two days. The odds of a deal being reached during that time frame are pretty small, but it is nice to have a proposal on the table from both sides.

We are exactly one month away, as of today, from the players being locked out. Right now, the PA has to be leading in the public relations game, at the very least. The league proposed lunacy, and the PA came back with rational, real world solutions. Good on them, but how that plays out with the league is anyone's guess.

Jesse will have his take on this in an hour. For now... anyone have any thoughts on the details?

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