Today, the NHLPA made their anxiously-awaited counter-proposal to the league's CBA demands that would have seen the players' share of revenues drop from 57% to 46% and that revenue is re-defined. All-in-all, experts figured that the total NHLPA giveback would be approximately $450M, returning player salaries to the level they were at several years ago.
While all details have yet to emerge, here's the bread-and-butter of the NHLPA proposal, as laid out by Sportsnet.ca's Michael Grange
Additionally, the players' proposal calls for significantly more revenue-sharing among all 30 member clubs, an obvious demand from a players association which feels that their salaries and the escrow system have been relied-upon too heavily as the current means of revenue sharing.
It's really a clever stroke by an NHLPA who many have said face a challenge in forcing the league to reconcile their business model between the haves and have-nots of member clubs. As much as the NHL trumpeted that the last CBA created a partnership between the owners and players where both sides care equally about the overall health and growth of the game, this proposal seems very much to be a challenge that the individual teams making up the league care that much more about one another.
Personally, I feel that the players' proposal is a good starting point, but I wouldn't consider this the concessionary end-all that I've seen some call it. Essentially, the players are conceding the revenues created by growth of the league without conceding a safety net against falling revenues. As far as I can tell (unless more details come out), the players will earn their $1.89B regardless of where revenues end up. That $1.89B is 57% of the $3.3B league revenues used to create the current $70.2M salary cap. The players' proposal doesn't actually give any money back, but rather promises two additional years of not taking any more.
Gary Bettman told the press today that the league would take their time to consider this offer. I wouldn't expect handshakes on it any time soon. It's a clever stroke by the side which seems to be winning the battle of public opinion, but when it comes down to the business of the game, it feels like a step away from partnership by the NHLPA rather than a step towards strengthening it. I'm anxious to see the league's response.
[Update: More details courtesy of Malik, including this follow-up tweet from Grange]
So it pretty much only promises that for three years, player salaries SHOULD grow at a rate below league revenue growth. Still no word on whether there's any safety net to a decrease in revenues.