NHL Lockout 2012: League presents new proposal without redefining HRR

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Stop me if you've heard this one before: the league and Players' Association exchanged proposals during negotiations earlier today in New York but don't appear to be on the verge of an agreement that would prevent a lockout.

The NHLPA's proposal was almost immediately quashed by Gary Bettman and company. Meanwhile, the most significant improvement in the NHL's new proposal, which is a six-year CBA that would give players 49% of league revenue in year one before sliding down to 47% in year six, is that the league is sticking to the definition of hockey-related revenue established in the prior CBA. Sportsnet's Michael Grange, who has done terrific work covering these negotiations all summer, reports that fact alone is the equivalent of an additional $100 million to the players relative to the league's last proposal that attempted to redefine HRR.

Assuming a 5% increase in revenue, 49% of HRR would amount to around $1.7 billion, which is about $170 million short of what the players earned last season. The players are now faced with a difficult decision: walk away from this proposal, which Donald Fehr has stated they need some time to contemplate, and risk losing out on an entire season's worth of revenue, or continue to negotiate in the hopes of making up the $170 million difference (the PA itself has stated they're content with salaries matching what they were in 11-12).

The dial of public opinion may turn towards the owners if the NHLPA rejects this offer but it's important to keep in mind that, while it's undeniable the NHL has progressed further from its initial proposal than the players have from theirs, the NHL's initial proposal was horseshit. On the other hand, the 50/50 revenue split many have been clamoring for since these negotiations began will likely be far more palatable to the players if the NHL is serious about sticking to the current definition of HRR. Unfortunately, the NHL has also decided to employ the rather childish tactic of threatening to pull their offer from the table after the September 15th deadline. Here's to hoping it doesn't come to that, although betting on a full season being played seems more foolish by the day.

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