November is closing in on its halfway mark and no real progress has occurred between the NHL owners and the NHLPA. A full 82-game season is no longer possible, but media outlets are speculating on a shortened season (per the National Post).
With each new offer that was tabled, the fans hopes raise briefly. That is until the inevitable rejection that has been coming from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
Fehr has continually been quoted as stating that the two sides are still far apart in negotiations. The offer from the owners back in late October (per AOL Sporting News) was a perfect example of this.
Many had predicted that a 50/50 revenue sharing split would be the end of the lockout. When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the offer on behalf of the owners, some felt the lockout was about done.
Yet Fehr shot down the proposal.
This move created a PR shift in this lockout. Until then, there were many fans who felt the players were in the right and the owners needed to make concessions.
The owners have shown they are willing to do so in order to get the NHL going again. The NHLPA now seems more like the greedy group it was trying to depict the owners as.
While Gary Bettman has very little love or support from many fans, and is known as one of the most hated men in hockey according to Sports Illustrated, it causes one to wonder if Fehr will take his spot.
The best that fans can hope for at this point is a reduced season starting near the beginning of December.
A shortened season will mean great losses for the owners and players alike. Yet the group that has been hurt the most is the fans that have supported the NHL.
All last week, the two sides met in order to try and work out a deal with one another, yet Fehr was quoted by CBC as saying that there was "Still a lot of work to be done."
The comment was part of a memo to players in regards to the negotiations last week, more specifically the pension issue.
The 50/50 split of the revenue share is still one of the largest talking points on which the NHLPA seems unwilling to negotiate.
The NHL made the offer to change the revenue sharing from 57/43 from the last CBA to 50/50 with what they have called the ‘Make Whole’ clause.
The owners' ‘Make Whole’ clause means that the losses the players would see from the revenue share drop would be made up over time.
In the players' defense, this clause essentially meant that the players' revenue share would pay out to other players. This would give the players less than the 50/50 split.
According to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail, there are talks that the owners would be the ones to pay the losses out.
It seems that just as the owners give the players reasonable offers, Donald Fehr finds a new talking point that he is unsatisfied with.
The Vancouver Sun explained that, should a deal be made soon and a 62-game season start as of December 1st, the league would lose revenue from 210 games.
These losses not only affect the owners, but also the players, as the revenue generated would be substantially less than what was made last season.
In recent weeks, it seems that the owners want to finish these negotiations and resume playing—something the fans desperately want.
While on the other side, the NHLPA—through Donald Fehr—is coming across as greedy and not caring that there is no professional hockey in North America.
At this point, even if a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached, Gary Bettman may no longer be the most hated man in the NHL.
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