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NHL, NHLPA take first step in addressing issues with 2020-21 salaries

A quickie blog on a significant development…

As the NHL and NHLPA began grinding away at the 2020-21 NHL schedule, both sides knew at some point there would be a conversation about salaries. In last summer’s collective bargaining agreement, the players agreed to collect 72 per cent of their gross pay for the upcoming season — a 10 per cent deferment, and 20 per cent escrow. In their eyes, that was the deal, whether they played one game or 82.

But, with full arenas far from reality, team owners did not like that and raised the idea of pro-rated salaries.

The players want to play, and the NHL — led by commissioner Gary Bettman — wants to get going. Aside from COVID-19 itself, this was going to be the biggest hurdle.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported Tuesday night that the NHL is asking for an additional 13 per cent salary deferment. A couple of sources warned that this is not, as of yet, an official proposal, but the idea did come up in conversation between the league and the union.

That would drop the players’ 2020-21 gross pay to about 62 per cent while eliminating the need to pro-rate. As you can imagine, the reaction was mixed, ranging from “why alter a deal that was made a few months ago?” to “not playing is a worse result.” (Payment schedule will be key.) It’s also possible the figure could be negotiated.

As part of the conversations, the two sides have been discussing schedules. According to multiple sources, one current option is 60 games, in your own arenas, MLB-style setup with back-to-backs in the same rink, divisional only. Yes, the Canadian Division is part of it. Playoffs to start in mid-May.

If we are going to try and start Jan. 1, time is short. They’re working at it, now attacking the most critical financial detail.


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