Daly: the system works, the split doesn’t

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Say what you will about the NHL, but at least you know exactly where the league stands in its labor dispute with the NHLPA. It’s real simple – the owners want a higher share of the league’s revenue. And they’re not going to apologize for it.

Even though league revenues are at an all-time high?

Yes.

Even though it’s the owners who are signing the players to enormous contracts?

Yes.

Even though the last CBA – the one that cost the NHL an entire season – was supposed to fix the league’s problems?

Yes.

Can’t you see how that would upset the players and the fans?

Yes.

Wait, why are you locking out the players again?

“The system itself is something we think has worked very, very well,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly Monday on FAN 590 in Toronto. “I think it’s made our league more competitive than it’s ever been, and I think the product is as good as it’s ever been. I think the revenues we’ve been able to generate are a testament to the fact the system itself works very, very well.”

But?

“As it’s turned out, 57 percent of the revenues going to the players is too high.”

Daly understands how it looks when owners shell out millions in contracts then in the next breath ask the players to make concessions. But that’s what happens when teams are competing with each other on the ice.

“It’s the individual mindset versus the collective mindset,” he said. “It’s the league’s job to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement that’s going to work for all of us.

“As long as you have a current system and ‘we’re entitled to do this and it’s going to make us more competitive and may lead to competitive success,’ they’re going to do what they’re going to do under the current rules.”

Daly does, however, deny it’s just a handful of teams that are in financial trouble due to player salaries.

“Our issue is we’re paying too much, as a league, to the players as a whole,” he said. “This is not a four- or five-team issue, and that’s what the players’ association would want you to believe.”

Fortunately, Daly believes the two sides are closer than they were prior to the 2004-05 lockout.

“It’s a totally different negotiation,” he said. “We hadn’t really negotiated over anything in 04-05 at this point. The issue was a cap system or not a cap system. Until one side or the other agreed to the other’s position, there was no negotiation really.

“At least at this point the players’ association has said they’ll maintain the cap. It’s an economic negotiation. In my view, on that front, it’s a much simpler negotiation.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

Related: Don’t blame owners for trying to win