On Wednesday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained why the league decided to publicly release its full CBA proposal to the players’ union.
In short? It was a counter move.
“Releasing the precise terms of an offer to the work force is commonly done and is perfectly legal, as long as there is no attempt to undermine Union leadership, which there wasn’t in this case,” Daly said in an email to the National Post.
“Releasing the terms of our proposal was not what we had originally intended. It was done only responsively to counter selective leaks and mischaracterizations about the terms and details of the proposal.”
At first, the NHL refrained from releasing offer specifics. Gary Bettman did reveal the 50/50 revenue split (and state there would be no salary rollback) in Tuesday’s post-meeting presser, but didn’t offer any other finite details.
Q: How long of a contract will this be?
BETTMAN: I’m not going to get into the specifics. We proposed a long-term contract. We think that’s in everybody’s interest. We think that’s what our fans want.
Q: Can you explain how you address the roll back or the escrow?
BETTMAN: There is no roll back, and I’m not going to get into the specifics. It would not be constructive at this point in time. The union has some work to do, and we respect the process I probably have gone further than I usually have in terms of discussing what we’ve proposed than at any other time. But I’m not comfortable going any further.
A day later — after Twitter was inundated with offer specifics — Bettman got comfortable going further.
The NHL’s about-face on releasing details has received polarized responses. One camp feels this open-book, all-transparent policy is the way to go (it was Fehr, after all, who said he’d be willing to do the bargaining on television.)
The other camp feels the move undermines the negotiating process and is public relations spin.
The only certainty? The pressure’s been shifted back onto the players’ union.
Regardless of what the public thinks of the NHL’s maneuvering, two facts remain — one, the league made the first significant proposal since Sept. 12.
Two, everybody now knows what that proposal entails.