It will take moderate, smart, even visionary leaders on both sides now to turn a document into a culture of compatability, harmony and growth. Owners and players gave all of that lip service after the last go-’round, but then entrenched themselves in their usual positions, heads buried in ice shavings, all but ignorning one another.
Key to previous dysfunction: the PA tearing through executive directors the way a rookie coach panics behind the bench, tearing up lines and defensive pairings. The PA dismissed Bob Goodenow amid accepting the last CBA. They then tore through the likes of Ted Saskin, Ian Penny, and Paul Kelly, going so far as to remove Kelly in mutinous style as a means eventually to hire Donald Fehr.
They believed Fehr, considered a genius for his leadership of Major League Baseball players, would bring them untold riches, far beyond a 57-percent revenue split, with their next deal. Now they stand at 50 percent, at the cost of losing somewhere between $600 and $800 million in this season’s salaries. Under Goodenow’s direction, they lost some $1.2 billion in 2004-’05 salaries, as well as many more millions in existing contracts beyond ‘04-’05. Fehr at least figured a way not to burn away a full year and he preserved most of what the players currently under contract signed for before the start of this lockout.
There will be extensive spin now from players, saying they stood strong and won this thing. Rubbish. The league was painfully slow in putting a real offer on the table, which was both damaging and lamebrained. But much of the deal agreed upon Sunday was put on the table by owners on Oct. 16, and it then took the PA some five weeks to engage in meaningful dialogue around that offer.
Two weeks of hard bargaining off the October offer could have had the game restored by early November. Heel dragging, forever the DNA of the players’ union, will have erased 10 weeks worth of games, further damaging the image of the game in the public and corporate eye.
But now the healing begins, with fans and sponsors to determine the pace of recovery.
Along with the 50/50 split in revenue and the 10-year term length, the significant parts of the new deal include:
■ No individual player contract shall exceed eight years. Only players who renew deals with their existing teams are eligible for the eight-year max. All others, typically signing as free agents, are capped at seven years. Previously, there was no limit on how long players could sign.
■ Revenue sharing among teams bumped from $150 million to $200 million.
■ Individual team salary cap for this season will be $70.2 million, with a reduction to $64.3 million in 2013-14. Over the length of the CBA, the cap cannot fall below $64.3 million. The new deal allows for a total of two compliance or ‘’amnesty’’ buyouts for ‘13-14 and ‘14-15 allowing clubs to ditch player salary if necessary not to exceed the cap. The buyout figures will not be counted toward the cap. However, they will factor into hockey related renveue (HRR) computations.
■ Each club shall pay a minimum of $44 million in salaries (salary floor), in ‘12-’13 and ‘13-’14.
■ Owners agree to fund up to $300 million toward a “make whole” provision, money that will allow players with deals signed prior to the lockout to earn most, if not all, of their money.
■ Minimum salary, to begin at $525,000, will increase to $750,000 over the length of the CBA.
■ Participation in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games remains unresolved. To be agreed upon outside the agreement.
■ Player pensions, a late sticking point, will be defined benefit plans rather than defined contributions — putting greater liability on the owners.