As promised, here’s a brief rundown of NHLPA chief Donald Fehr’s conference call with reporters following a regional union meeting in Chicago.
To be perfectly honest, most of it was the same-old-same-old, but here goes anyway:
—- Fehr reiterated that if there’s going to be a lockout, it will be initiated by the owners, not the players — “Nobody on the players’ side is talking about stopping the season.” The union is willing to start the season without an agreement in place, but the NHL has said that won’t happen.
—- Fehr said the owners proposed “some additional revenue sharing;” however, that revenue-sharing would essentially be paid for with a “very large reduction in players’ salaries.”
—- The players’ proposed the creation of an “industry growth fund” totaling $100 million that would go to teams in financial need.
—- The NHLPA isn’t interested in changing the rules related to contracts. For example, the owners have proposed to change the minimum age that a player can become an unrestricted free agent from 25 years old (after seven years of NHL service) to 28 (after 10 years NHL service).
—- Fehr said it’s misguided to compare the revenue split in other leagues since revenues are calculated differently. For example, the way they calculate revenue in the NFL isn’t “even remotely” comparable to the NHL, according to Fehr.
—- Fehr expects to speak with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman over the weekend, with negotiations set to reconvene next week.