Everything Else

Try Try Try To Understand

Ugh, a Heart reference. You can tell that I’m at the end of my rope.

With the NHL and NHLPA heading into a second consecutive day of negotiating, which breaks the record of this lockout by at least 100%, and on pretty much a media blackout (though you’ll get leaks here and there), it’s a little hard to know what to think and what is actually going on. I’ll do my best to pass along how I’m seeing things, and you can tell me I’m totally wrong in the comments.

First things first, one aspect I’ve been getting slightly wrong is how the “make-whole” provision would work, why it’s necessary, why they’re arguing about it, and how it’s different from normal escrow. Yep, I’m going to admit I’m wrong. You’d think this would happen more considering how often I am wrong. But yeah, totally admitting a degree of wrong-ness. My girlfriend will be so thrilled.

Anyway, I’ve made the point that the Make-Whole provision was just another aspect of escrow that players were already paying. But it’s slightly different. Under the old CBA, escrow was a fail-safe in case revenue projections were not met.

This Make-Whole thing is actually coming at it from the other angle. Because of a stiff drop straight from 57% to 50%, and due to the contracts that are already signed, the players compensation the first two years is going to be over what that 50% says it should be (or it will be because there’s no rollback on salaries). What the owners would do then is either up the escrow, or collect a different kind of escrow, however you want to put it, to balance this out. Even if projections were met, because of the contracts signed the players would go over their allotment, unless as James Mirtle pointed out they somehow grow revenue at 9%. Not going to happen.

The debate is that after that money is harvested, the owners originally wanted to make it up to those players by taking a larger percentage of escrow from future contracts. But that would mean the players were getting less than what 50% guaranteed them down the road, and you can see the problem.

Whatever, you get it. But let’s see if we can’t figure out what it means that they’re talking about that today. And everyone agrees that’s the topic of discussion today. It could totally go balls-up. But if that’s the focus of the discussions, you can maybe not assume but come close to assuming that they’ve kind of agreed on how they’re getting to a 50-50 split. Otherwise you wouldn’t need to talk about this Make-Whole thing. That’s just a guess.

And while a lot will tell you that even if they get that part right, there’s still a lot of landmines to be maneuvered through — such as entry level deals and free agency and other things.

But I don’t know that I buy that. As we said a few weeks ago, it was stupid enough to blow up the sport when you were talking about 3% of total revenues. It would be beyond lunacy to torpedo it over one or two years to free agency or one or two years on entry-level deals. While figuring out the Make-Whole is the big obstacle and going to be very difficult, I just can’t help but feel that if it gets solved the rest is going to look like dominoes in the wind.

But that’s just me.

Other notes:

Read this if you want to see how the Hawks are doing that are playing professionally in Europe. It’s all going rather well I guess.

-Andrew Shaw got six games for leaving the bench in Rockford the other night. The way he was playing, I doubt the Hogs will notice much.

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