By all accounts, today's meeting was at least productive, if not a quantum leap forward. Both ownership and the PA seem to be reaching the same conclusions about revenue sharing. Donald Fehr, while one tenacious and cutthroat motherfucker, is actually fantastic at his job, even if he's only remembered as the guy who cost everyone the stepchild 1994 White Sox vs. Expos World Series. But this is actually the first time that the PA has actually been led by an actual professional, rather than the clown college of Bob Goodenow or Alan Eagelson. And it's this writer's opinion that the player's proposal which included significant concessions by way of helping small market teams was an Ozymandias stroke of evil genius, potentially dividing the owners into Have and Have Not sects.
While we've all been bracing ourselves in one way or another for the inevitability of another prolonged NHL labor stoppage, funnily enough, the "negotiations" are still ongoing. The September 15th deadline for the current agreement is rapidly approaching, and despite some ominous quotes from Count Bettman at the end of last week's sessions in Toronto, it appears that a bit of progress was actually made today in New York.
But, it appears the owners have actually wised up and recognized that they're dealing with an adult across the table, and prevented that from happening, with reports today of only a slide to 52% of hockey related revenue for the players in the first year, and a straight 50/50 thereafter, a far cry from the 57% the owners initially wanted for themselves. While there is still much work to be done, it at least appears that both sides have gotten their "Let's see if they bite on THIS bullshit" offer out of the way, and can get down to a real negotiation in time for a full 82 game season.There still remains a fundamental difference in where the revenue sharing dollars are going to come from, as the NHL thinks its a burden that should still be borne by the players. It's at least something, though.
Even Barry Rozner (who has mellowed now that Dale Tallon and Brian Campbell are both now far, far away) alluded today in his stint on 670's Afternoon Show that the owner's unilateral declaration of locking the players out on September 15th is still fungible, and if the two sides get close, there is still the option of playing one more year under the current agreement as negotiations continue. A sneaky trick the NHL pulled as well was to very subtly lockout proof the schedule, as the first games of the year are now at the end of the second week of October, instead of the first. But, this is the NHL whose contempt for their fans seemingly knows no bounds, so it could all go balls up if Fehr looks at Ed Snider cross-eyed. It's now on to Phase 2.
- In other news, our fundraising drive to build TheCommittedIndian.com is just about to a close, and we continue to be astounded at the support you've given. We've seen the first draft of what the site is going to look like, and it's truly quite excellent. You have my word that those of you who donated and those of you who plan on supporting by making the trek will NOT be disappointed. Coulee Creative has done fantastic work so far, and I even received an update today that they're currently working on building our commenting system. There's a lot to look forward to, and if you still feel inclined to drop a couple sheckels on the project, it will certainly help to go towards things such as the official press wire photos. Thank you all once again.