moment to consider plans for his sun-blocking device.
Any sense of optimism over the NHL's upcoming CBA negotiation disappeared last week when details of the owners' initial offer to the players leaked to the public. Despite some early hope that the two sides would learn from past mistakes and find common ground quickly, it looks like fans are in for another contentious battle.
The owners' initial offer - which includes slashing the player's share of league revenues, a five-year limit on contracts, the elimination of arbitration and significant changes to free agency - has no chance of being accepted. But while some have chalked the proposal up as just a basic negotiating tactic, others see it as a signal that the league is intent on undergoing yet another long work stoppage.
And that's just based on the high-level details that leaked out - it turns out that the actual proposal included plenty more for players to chew on. My spies were able to get their hands on a copy of the offer, which sheds light on some of the additional demands that NHL owners are insisting on seeing in the next CBA.
- The league and its players must work together to come up with new revenue streams that could add millions of dollars to the league's bottom line, such as having Cam Janssen bring a swear jar to all his radio interviews.
- Columbus would really like us to consider another round of expansion, since they're running out of teams to laugh hysterically into the phone when Scott Howson calls with his latest Rick Nash proposal.
- Any time the NHLPA starts talking about how the union will absolutely refuse to bend on certain key principles, the owners reserve the right to order in for pizza and then drum their fingers nonchalantly when Bob Goodenow shows up to deliver it.
- We're going to need to roll back the salary of every active NHL player, with the exception of Brad Richards, since according to this magazine we picked up the poor guy can't even afford to buy clothes these days.
- We'll have to make sure that any new rules don't result in the league losing star players to organizations that can just spend whatever they want without being limited by a salary cap, such as the KHL or the Kitchener Rangers.
- All future negotiation sessions must take place in a room with a well-oiled revolving door, since it would be nice to be able to include the current leading candidate to own the Phoenix Coyotes.
- While nobody would ever accuse them of signing a front-loaded contract they had no intention of honoring in its entirety, it does seem kind of odd how Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are already listed as part of the Minnesota Wild alumni roster for the 2017 Winter Classic.
- We can all agree that the recent rash of concussions is among the most critical issues facing the league today, so it would be super helpful if the players would agree to stop getting so many of them.
- Many owners are so pleased with the current proposal and its potential impact on the league that they're helping each other make "The most popular game in town!" posters for their arenas, although come to think of it it's kind of strange that they're all the guys who also own NBA teams.
- The new agreement should run for at least eight or ten years, since we'd all like it to still be in effect when Mike Gillis gets around to finally trading Roberto Luongo to the Panthers.
- The current CBA contains perfectly reasonable rules around restricted free agents and offer sheets and it's just one of those crazy coincidences that no team ever uses them to sign a star player, so could somebody please ask Shea Weber to stop sitting outside our meeting sarcastically shaking a cup at every owner who walks by?
- While we can't name any names and we're really not sure what it has to do with the next CBA, one of the NHL's highest ranking executives just wants everyone to know that the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee can bite him.
- At the end of the day we all know that the only reason the NHL has become a billion dollar industry is because of the many loyal fans who support the league and its players, so let's all work on some really convincing frowny faces for when we lie to them about how bad we feel about all of this.
- While it was probably a bad idea to invite the team mascots to the negotiation sessions in the first place, we'd still love to know why a drunken Youppi keeps trying to leap over the table and choke out Donald Fehr.
- The owners are demanding a face-to-face meeting with those responsible for continually screwing up every new CBA that gets negotiated, so I guess someone will need to send us a big shipment of mirrors.