Tag: CBA

Gary Bettman

No official CBA negotiations until June?


Fans hoping for NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to start making some serious progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement could be very disappointed. According to Eric Francis on CBC’s Hot Stove, the two sides aren’t expected to officially kick off negotiations until after the Stanley Cup finals in June.

The logic is pretty much what you would figure. For the Players’ Association, waiting would allow all players to be fully focus on the process and not just the ones from teams that have already been eliminated. The NHL would also avoid running the risk of the CBA negotiations distracting from the playoffs.

The current CBA runs through September, so even if they wait until June to get the ball rolling, they’ll still have plenty of time to work things out. That being said, if they don’t resolve the issue by July, then GMs could be in an awkward position during this summer’s free agent market. According to Elliotte Friedman, the salary cap could be above $70 million in July, but that doesn’t mean it will be anything near that come September.

Insuring concussed players could “alter hockey industry”


Learning more about concussions is fantastic from a preventive standpoint, but as history shows, progress often comes with some headaches.

Rick Westhead offers the latest troubling wrinkle to the issue: insurance companies might just balk at covering players with histories of concussion problems in the future.

Insurance companies specializing in sports say the Penguins and other NHL teams will increasingly have to adopt the risk of million-dollar contracts alone as the number of players sidelined with concussions swells. The prospect threatens to alter the hockey industry.

… If more players continue to be sidelined with concussions, insurers may stop insuring players with brain injuries altogether.

For some of you, insurance is an eyes-glazing-over issue. That’s understandable, but it could come at a brutal cost for teams and/or players. Things could get especially interesting/horrible if this issue would have a big impact on Sidney Crosby’s next contract negotiations since his second deal runs out after the 2012-13 season.

(Then again, perhaps a new CBA will alleviate that problem – if it doesn’t bring about a hockey apocalypse in the process.)

Look, it’s fantastic that the sports world is becoming more educated about concussions – or at least afraid enough to handle these situations with less haste – but there are times when the problems almost feel crippling. It’s wrong to say that ignorance is bliss, but there are some undeniable growing pains that come with increased knowledge, too.

Bettman hopes collective bargaining will be “painless and quiet and quick”


There was a bit of unease today when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no set date to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.

With the current CBA set to expire on Sept. 15, several media outlets reacted with doom and gloom — that included Reuters, which ran with the “Labor war looms over All-Star weekend” headline.

Labor war? Hopefully not, Bettman said.

“My hope is that we can reason together and that collective bargaining will be painless and quiet and quick,” Bettman told reporters following Saturday’s board of governors meeting. “That would serve everyone’s best interest.”

The scent of labor strife has been in the air since the NHLPA rejected the NHL’s proposed realignment. Many saw it as the first shot fired by players’ association head Donald Fehr, the former Major League Baseball PA executive director known for his hard-nosed negotiation practices.

On Saturday, Fehr re-iterated much of what Bettman said — there’s no set date for the two sides to begin CBA talks.

“I don’t know yet, there will obviously be some preliminary discussions to set things up and talk about things,” Fehr said. “Obviously, my preference will be when we get to the real significant sessions to do it at a point in time, which is rather more likely to have players present easily than less.

“But we’ll know sometime in the next few weeks how that’s going to play out.”

Fehr also stated that people (read: media types) might be reading too much into the lack of a formal start date. He and the NHLPA want to obtain more financial information before getting down to brass tacks.

“There’s this view that somehow if you have this big meeting and everyone comes and takes pictures of a dozen or two dozen people sitting around a table like the auto workers used to do, that somehow magically that signifies the kickoff of something in a formal way and that the world is different as between before and after,” Fehr said.

“That’s largely untrue. … Don’t make more out of it than is there.”