Even if it turned out to be a bit premature, there seemed to be some optimism surrounding the NHL's CBA talks on Tuesday when the NHLPA submitted its alternative proposal to the league.
That optimism, of course, disappeared on Wednesday when the owners responded with a reality check, pointing out that the two sides are still very, very far apart.
On Thursday the NHLPA issued a statement on its website outlining the details of its proposal, which it believes "is fair to both the players and the owners, and also to the fans, particularly in hockey markets that are having difficulties. We believe it will allow the game to grow and will take us beyond the labour issues that have plagued hockey for the last 20 years."
(And they're not kidding when they point out the issues that have plagued hockey for the past 20 years -- if there's a work stoppage this year, and the league has already said there will be a lockout if no new deal is reached by September 15, it will be the third one since 1994. This is becoming a habit.)
The key points from the NHLPA statement:
- Players compensation would grow at fixed rates which would result in player compensation being reduced by potentially more than $800 million over the next three seasons (depending on revenue growth)
- A significantly expanded and simplified revenue sharing system specifically designed to help clubs in need of assistance
- Increased flexibility for teams; will help GMs to put their teams together including awarding extra draft picks for teams in difficulty, allowing teams to trade dollars and players and in limited cases, allow for small amount of teams to go over or under the salary cap
The proposal would have been a three-year agreement that would have also included an option for a fourth year that would "snap-back" to the current agreement that is set to expire on September 15.
The NHLPA's statement concluded: "In essence, the players are proposing to partner with the financially stronger NHL owners to bring stability to the industry and assist those clubs that are less financially stable In summary, the alternative proposal seeks to fix the problems that exist, instead of focusing on problems that don't."