[NHL] NHLPA offers $52-million US salary cap

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NHLPA offers $52-million US salary cap but NHL rejects stunning offer


February 15, 2005

NEW YORK (CP) - The No. 1 issue that has plagued the NHL lockout went out the window Monday night when the NHL Players' Association offered a deal that included a $52-million US salary cap, The Canadian Press has learned.

But the deal was rejected by the NHL. The surprising move was made by NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin during his secret meeting with NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Daly began the process Monday by offering a $40-million salary cap without "linkage" - a fixed link between player costs and league revenues, which has long been the centrepiece of the NHL's bid for cost certainty. The union counter-offered with the $52-million team-by-team salary cap.

The players' proposal also featured more aggressive payroll tax thresholds and tax rates on team payrolls.

"It is indeed unfortunate that with the major steps taken by both sides today we were unable to build enough momentum to reach an agreement," Saskin told The Canadian Press early Tuesday.

The union's offer also included the 24 per cent salary rollback on all existing contracts.

These latest developments came as the NHL announced a news conference for Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST in New York when commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to announce the cancellation of the 2004-2005 season.

While no talks were planned for Tuesday, the fact that both sides made dramatic moves from their longstanding positions Monday night could spur on more last-ditch efforts to save the season.

As it stands, the players have finally accepted a salary cap for the first time in their history while the league gave up on linkage. Now the two sides are separated by $12 million on their cap figures. And with the rollback, two-thirds of the league's teams would be under $40 million.

But is it too late?

Earlier on Monday night, the league sent out a statement saying talks between Daly and Saskin produced "no progress."

Bettman's news conference was originally slated for Tuesday, according to a source, but pushed back a day as Daly and Saskin met late into the night.

It all made for a roller-coaster day.

"I've said all along, until someone tells me it's over, it's not," Devils GM and CEO Lou Lamoriello said from his New Jersey office Monday. "It's too easy to be negative.

"There's no question we have something scheduled at this point for Wednesday. It's looking very bleak right now but it's not over."

The Devils boss also offered some advice.

"To me, let's get rid of all these buzz words (salary cap, luxury tax) and get something done that works for everybody," he said.

Should the worst happen Wednesday, the NHL will become the first major professional league in North America to cancel an entire season from start to finish. But Bettman says the damage the NHL will suffer as a result is worth it in order to get "cost certainty" for his owners.

The NHL and the union met for more than five hours with U.S. federal mediators in Washington on Sunday but still could not make any progress. Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow were not at the meeting. Daly, the NHL's executive vice-president and chief legal officer, and outside counsel Bob Batterman represented the league while Saskin, the NHLPA's senior director, and outside counsel John McCambridge were there for the union.

So much of the season has already been scrapped. Through Monday, 824 of the 1,230 regular-season games have gone by the wayside.

If an agreement can still be reached, the league has a shortened schedule ready to go that would see teams play 28 regular-season games, playing only within their conference. The playoffs would stay the same and consist of four rounds.

Updated on Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 4:02 am EST


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well, the players have caved in and offer the owners what they want, a salary cap, and then the owners reject it. wtf is going on?!? the owners want a $40 million cap and the players want a $52 million cap. so, why not just meet in the middle and make the cap at $46 million?

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well, the players have caved in and offer the owners what they want, a salary cap, and then the owners reject it.  wtf is going on?!?  the owners want a $40 million cap and the players want a $52 million cap.  so, why not just meet in the middle and make the cap at $46 million?


Exactly. Get it done! :angry:

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Exactly.  Get it done!  :angry:


As long as Bettman is in charge, I don't think anything will be resolved. There has to be some sort of compremise and the only ones that are trying a little bit is the NHLPA, the NHL just shoots down everything.

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goodbye NHL 2005


Goodbye NHL...period.

Personally, I don't see how they could ever recover from losing an entire season when they already were struggling as it is.

Sad too. The Sharks were actually doing good things and were poised for great things.

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The NHL has upped their cap to 42.5M and Gary Bettman has stated that it's non-negotiable. It's a take it or leave it offer. It's unfair to say the NHLPA has made the only concession by accepting a salary cap. The NHL has walked away from linkage, which was one of the other non-starters in these negotiations.

Bob Goodenow has until 11 AM EST Wednesday morning to reply to Bettman's offer, 2 hours before Bettman's scheduled press conference to cancel the 04/05 season. If Goodenow agrees to it, then the season is saved. If not, then see you in September. I'm not entirely optimistic, but this is by far the closest the 2 sides have been to a deal since this all began.

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I'm optimistic. Even Barnaby said something to the effect of "i cant believe we held out this long just to have our bluff called"

I don't know how much closer they think they're going to get it. 9millions dollars isn't enough to argue about. The salary cap has already been accepted...that was the battle for 7 months now.

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The NHLPA has apparently offrered to lower their offer to like 49 Million... however i don't think tha'ts low enough for bettman to get off his high horse and agree to.

Let's pray they can meet in the middle or something and salvage us atleast some NHL hockey.

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