When I first heard of the new NHLPA proposal I was astounded by its generosity. My words were: “How can the NHLPA make such a generous offer?”
Please allow me to rephrase. Or at least let me recant.
This is not a generous offer. I`m not even sure it is an offer.
What looks at the start like a true opening bid from the NHLPA is nothing more than a smoke-screen. The players want to take the heat off of themselves. Players around the world are shocked. Mats Sundin feels that the ball is now in the GM`s court. Did Goodenow ask him to say that? This feels like a public relations war, not a negotiation.
What else is new.
I don`t blame the players for this mess. No-one made the GM`s in New York and Carolina put up huge numbers hoping to buy UFA`s. No-one made the GMs pay 10 million to Paul Kariya.
GM`s want the right to police themselves using a key phrase in these non-negotiations – cost certainty.
The PA was willing to take a 25% paycut across the board rather than face cost certainty. They are willing to allow for teams to take players to arbitration rather than face cost certainty. They are willing to bend over backwards rather than face cost certainty. They are scared of it.
This is a big problem. Cost certainty is the reason for this lockout. The NHLPA`s offer was essentially window dressing.
Does that sound like bargaining in good faith? To me it sounds more like a kick in the teeth. Bob Goodenow should know better.
Their offer simply reaffirms that the PA is not willing to face a salary cap. A Salary Cap is the best way to guarantee cost certainty. I must conclude the recent offer by the NHLPA is a toothless one not worth considering. They know what the problem is and they don’t want to address it.
The problem of rising salaries is still out there, waiting to be tackled. Agents are still better negotiators than GM’s.
As far as I am concerned, the latest offer was the NHLPA`s best public relations maneuver to date. It is a pity we are no nearer to NHL hockey this winter.