Riddle me this hockey fan, what could start on November 2nd and contain a full 82 games? The answer – an NHL season.
Now that the first real money has been lost by both the NHL and the NHLPA – negotiations are starting to get serious. Now comes the point in time when we get to see if one side is going to take the other side seriously, or if we are going to see an impasse as both sides are unwilling to cede for hope of the other side breaking.
As it stands, the NHL is still offering a 50/50 split in revenue. If the NHL can get 82 games in – revenue numbers stand to be the same as they were last year, if not more. (Again the NHL is banking on the fact that no fan gets left behind and spends money like no lockout happened).
The NHLPA stands to look at the proposal tonight and offer a response/rebuttal quickly, which is in sharp contrast to the last few rounds of go between the two sides.
What does this mean for the fan – well it means that the NHL wants to be relevant again. Or Maybe Gary Bettman is tired of being booed when he hands out the Stanley Cup at the NHL level, if a beer league team wins it because the NHL is in absentia – it could really get ugly for him.
Last week it looked as if negotiations were actually going to begin in earnest – and as long as the sides continue to keep talking and ironing out a deal – there will be NHL hockey to speak of this year. As opposed in weeks past when it seemed like neither side cared if North America saw the light of an NHL season this year.
Looking at this long term – the deal is for six years. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at some point in the off season after the Stanley Cup Champion of 2019 is crowned – we are going to be going through this once again – at best 2021 if they can extend it two years.
As opposed to the last lockout however – both sides have been talking back and forth – though no formal offers have been exchanged since before the lockout started. This could bode well for future years of negotiations as the sides are willing to communicate.
Is this NHL proposal any better than the last one they offered? Donald Fehr thinks it might be:
“In some respects I think it is in other respects I’m not sure. We have to look at it.”
Again it comes back to what will happen to the fan. The NHL is going to look at its die hard core group of people and offer that No Fan Has Been Left Behind – but in reality prices are going to increase as the core group of NHL teams are going to start looking more and more like the corporate filled seats of the Air Canada Centre.