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Another work stoppage possible?


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Another work stoppage on the horizon for NHL?

By Pat Hickey, The Gazette August 5, 2011 MONTREAL - The National Hockey League is looking good these days. Or is it?

Revenues are at an all-time high, there is a new longterm U.S. television deal with NBC, and at least 10 teams have already taken advantage of the latest increase in the salary cap.

But there is little reason for anyone associated with the league - from the owners down to the casual fan - to feel complacent about the future.

After six seasons of growth and labour peace, the current collective bargaining agreement expires next month. While the expiration is unlikely to have an effect on the 2011-12 season, its not too early to start worrying about another work stoppage.

The NHL owners will take their lead from the National Football League and the Nastional Basketball Association, both of whom have taken a hard line with their players in negotiations this summer.

The NFL saved its season with a last-minute settlement that hit the players hard in their wallets while the indications are that the NBA lockout may force the cancellation of an entire season.

The NFL is generally regarded as the most successful of the major pro sports in North American, but the negotiations this summer revealed serious problems in the wake of the recession. The result is a deal that cuts the players share of total revenues from 50 per cent to 47 per cent. In return, the league undertook to double revenues over a 10-year period and addressed a number of health and safety issues.

There will be a similar push from the NHL owners, who are currently required to share 57 per cent of their total revenues. That figure will most certainly drop and there will be a move to curb guaranteed salaries and change the rules regarding free agency. Safety was a major issue for the NFL, but its unlikely to be a bargaining chip for hockey players who cant agree on the need for visors.

The NHL negotiations will be contentious because the current agreement hasnt solved the problem that plagued the league in 2004. While total revenues are up, there are still teams that are struggling and the gap between rich and poor is growing. Two teams are currently over the $64.3-million salary cap and at least 10 teams will have payrolls in excess of last years 59.4-million cap. At the other end, there are three teams that havent reached the cap floor and several others are operating under self-imposed caps.

The NHL lost the 2004-05 season because teams couldnt cope with an average salary of $1.8 million. The average salary has since topped $2.3 million.

The hiring of hardliner Donald Fehr - Montreal fans might recall that he headed the baseball union when a lockout ended the Expos hopes of a World Series appearance in 1994 - is an indication that NHL players are prepared for a battle.

The question is whether common sense on both sides will prevail as it did in the NFL dispute or whether the battle will deteriorate to the point where the NBA locked out its players and then sued them for failing to bargain in good faith.

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Another work stoppage on the horizon for NHL?

Aren't you the bearer of good news today.<_<

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The NHL owners will take their lead from the National Football League and the Nastional Basketball Association, both of whom have taken a hard line with their players in negotiations this summer.

oh great.<_<

I just thought it would be a good topic for discussion.

Oh for sure.

The hiring of hardliner Donald Fehr - Montreal fans might recall that he headed the baseball union when a lockout ended the Expos’ hopes of a World Series appearance in 1994 - is an indication that NHL players are prepared for a battle.

Interesting

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The players somewhat caved on the last work stoppage so i believe they will take a more cautious approach this time around. I'm hopeful they'll get an agreement done without the need for a stoppage this time around.

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Well, the NFL players set a precedent with their deal. Hopefully the NHL players take notice. The NBA is going to die this year if they decided to lose the whole season. The NHL would crumble if they go on strike a lose a season again. Wouldn't it be ironic though? Winnipeg gets a team back and then hockey dies. :lol:

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Well, the NFL players set a precedent with their deal. Hopefully the NHL players take notice. The NBA is going to die this year if they decided to lose the whole season. The NHL would crumble if they go on strike a lose a season again. Wouldn't it be ironic though? Winnipeg gets a team back and then hockey dies. :lol:

And who would be the bad guys in this case? The owners definitely trumped the players in the NFL.

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