From Brooks today...you just knew this crap was coming.
Seven years after mortally wounding the Players’ Association, the NHL Board of Governors is moving in for yet another kill, its first collective bargaining submission yesterday in Toronto as much a declaration of war as an initial proposal off which to negotiate.
The league power brokers who canceled the 2004-05 season in order to get the hard cap that is contained in the CBA that expires on Sept. 15 after seven seasons of unprecedented revenue growth, are essentially challenging the players, now led by Donald Fehr, to accept another round of massive givebacks or be prepared to miss 2012-13.
Unless the players cave in historic fashion, a lengthy lockout is a certainty.
Sources within the industry last night told The Post the league is not only demanding the players accept a cut in their percentage of the gross from the current 57 percent to 46 percent, but also recalculating the definition of Hockey Related Revenue so the pot from which the owners and players share would be drastically reduced.
Moreover, the NHL proposal would reduce the team ceiling (the cap number) from the current $8 million over the midpoint to $4 million over the midpoint while maintaining the club floor at $8 million below the midpoint.
The Post has learned that the NHL — which declared a record $3.2 billion in revenue for 2011-12 — is calling for a five-year term limit on all contracts, in which signing bonuses would be forbidden and salaries would be the same for every year of the contract.
There is currently no restriction on contract lengths with few restrictions on signing bonuses and on front-loading to reduce cap hits on long-term deals.
The proposal calls for unrestricted free agency to be granted only after a player has accrued 10 seasons in the NHL, without regard to age. Players currently are eligible to become free agents either at the age of 27 or after seven accrued seasons in the NHL.
In addition, the proposal would eliminate salary arbitration and extend Entry Level contracts from three years to five years.
Neither the NHL nor NHLPA has publicly acknowledged the proposal. A meeting between the parties is believed to be scheduled for this week in New York.