the owners to make their last offer with a straight face.
Some cynics viewed the comment as transparent posturing, but let's take Bettman at his word. Maybe the key really is to look more closely at what the NFL and NBA went through to get new CBAs last year. After all, both leagues went through difficult negotiations that threatened their seasons. Maybe Bettman's right, and the key to NHL labor peace can be found by looking to the competition.
It's worth a shot. Here's an in-depth look at how the CBAs compare in the three leagues.
NBA: In order to get a deal done, owners made concessions on the salary floor and minimum spending requirements.
NFL: In order to get a deal done, owners made concessions on their demands for a longer schedule.
NHL: The owners just heard you say the word "concessions", and just made themselves a note to get food and drink sales excluded from hockey-related revenue.
NBA: Players signing long-term contracts can make more money by staying with their current team rather than signing elsewhere.
NFL: Players signing long-term contracts know that their deals aren't guaranteed, and ask for large bonuses up front.
NHL: Players who signed a long-term contract this summer thought it was kind of strange how the owner responded to every demand by typing "minus 24%" into a calculator and then giggling to himself.
NBA: The players got 51% of league revenues, leaving 49% for the owners.
NFL: The owners got 53% of league revenues, leaving for 47% for the players.
NHL: Gary Bettman is pretty sure that both sides can make well over 50%, just as soon as he figures out how to implement the shootout and bonus point into a CBA.
NBA: The agreement includes an amnesty provision, so an overpaid player can be waived before the season if his contract was signed under the old CBA.
NFL: Player contracts are not guaranteed, so an overpaid player can be cut at any time.
NHL: Under the current CBA, there will be no way for a team to rid itself of an overpaid player up until Pierre Gauthier gets another GM job.
NBA: One major problem is that the league has franchises in southern markets that attract a disproportionate number of top free agents, upsetting competitive balance.
NFL: One major problem is that the league has franchises in southern markets that have to compete with college programs that are enormously popular.
NHL: One major problem is that the league has franchises in southern markets.
NBA: The deal includes rookie scale contracts, which reduces the amount of money a star rookie can make.
NFL: Players accepted limitations on entry-level deals that also reduced what a star rookie could make.
NHL: Under the owner's most recent proposal the only limit on contracts for star rookies will be whatever the rules are in the KHL, since that's where most of them will be signing.
NBA: New rules around restricted free agency have led to players like popular star Jeremy Lin switching teams.
NFL: Players can become restricted free agents after three seasons, although their teams retain a right to match any offers.
NHL: The owners think that restricted free agency works just fine now that they've made a few minor tweaks, adding that they have no idea why it sounds like Paul Holmgrem is screaming for help from a makeshift cell in the basement so let's talk about something else.
NBA: Is one of the three most popular professional sports leagues in the United States.
NFL: Is one of the three most popular professional sports leagues in the United States.
NHL: Is also one of the three most popular professional sports leagues in the United States, apparently, since based on Bettman's comments about using other leagues as a basis for a new CBA we're supposed to think Major League Baseball no longer exists.
NBA: The key breakthrough came when the "Larry Bird exception" was redefined to a five-year maximum instead of six.
NFL: The key breakthrough came when "football revenues" was redefined to include a credit for new stadium constructions.
NHL: The key breakthrough will come when "equal partnership" is redefined as "the players take whatever we feel like giving them and just shut up already".
NBA: There was a sense of urgency from the owners, since an extended 2011 lockout could have jeopardized the league's participation in the Summer Olympics.
NFL: There was a sense of urgency from the owners, since an extended 2011 lockout could have impacted the league's billion dollar partnerships with TV networks.
NHL: There's a sense of urgency from the owners, since an extended 2012 lockout could disrupt their advance planning for the 2017 and 2021 lockouts.