Breaking: NHL Reportedly Willing To Absorb Portion Of “Make Whole” Provision

Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr better be busy this weekend!
(Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

TSN’s Darren Dreger recently Tweeted that “NHL advised PA it will absorb share of Make Whole provision. This is a considerable concession”.

This is a significant change of tune for the NHL, who had been balking at the idea of making any kind of legitimate concessions with regards to the “Make Whole” provision of the CBA.

Dreger later Tweeted that “The NHL’s verbal offer to absorb some or all of “Make Whole” was made Tuesday. 3 days ago?? PA wants more detail before getting too excited.” Which begs the obvious question: if the NHL was willing to absorb a portion of the “Make Whole” provision as many as three days ago, what the heck is the NHLPA waiting for, and why did they allow the cancellation of the Winter Classic to take place?

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke about the cancellation of the Winter Classic on behalf of the NHL today, releasing the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events,” Daly said in a statement Friday. “We look forward to bringing the next Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival to Michigan.”

NHLPA executive director, Donald Fehr called the cancellation of the Winter Classic “unnecessary” and continued to throw mud in the direction of the NHL and it’s owners.

“The fact that the season has not started is a result of a unilateral decision by the owners; the players have always been ready to play while continuing to negotiate in good faith,” Fehr said in a statement. “We look forward to the league’s return to the bargaining table, so that the parties can find a way to end the lockout at the earliest possible date, and get the game back on the ice for the fans.”

NHL fans around the globe are growing increasingly impatient with both sides, but if Dreger’s report is true (and given Dreger’s excellent reputation as a hockey insider there is no reason not to believe him), then the NHLPA will likely receive a lot of criticism from the fans for not reacting to the NHL’s latest concession in a timely manner.

Of course, the NHL’s offer would have to be reviewed, and that takes time. But the consequences of a delayed response has seemingly already cost the fans the loss of the Winter Classic. With the loss of another full season looking very real, hopefully the NHLPA has been hard at work reviewing the NHL’s latest concession over the past three days.

Sportsnet/Prime Time Sports Bob McCown reported on his show Friday night that the NHL’s offer is to pay out approximately 60 percent of the players.

To be clear, the NHL was originally looking for the players to pay any shortcomings with their own money through escrow. The NHL’s latest offer would call for the NHL to refund the losses incurred from the players going from a 57 percent share of hockey related revenue to a 50-50 split of HRR with the NHL’s own money.

How long this would take and at what level the NHL is willing to pay out is still a mystery, but it is a start, and it should be enough to get the two sides back at the negotiating table.

Admittedly, with the NHL’s latest CBA proposal off the table as of October 26th, the two sides still have a lot of details to work out, such as, term of contracts, salary cap, percentage of expected revenue growth, entry level deals, etc. That said, this latest news gives fans hope that the two sides MIGHT just be able to put together a deal.

More on this as things transpire…Hopefully NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr are very busy tonight!