Tipsheet: Former Blues defenseman Roman Polak balks at NHL’s return plans | Jeff Gordon

Ken Campbell, The Hockey News: “You’ll recall that when commissioner Gary Bettman outlined the league’s plans for returning, he said it had yet to be determined whether the first two rounds after the play-ins would be best of five or best-of-seven. He also said he would pretty much leave it up to the players. Well, the players took best-of-seven, which should tell you something about how dedicated these athletes are. The next time you lament that they make millions for playing a game, consider that they are the ones putting their health on the line for the good of the game here. They’ve already collected all but one of the paychecks and may end up simply handing that last one to the league anyway. It would have been in their best interests to get these playoffs completed as quickly as possible. But it’s a testament to their level of dedication and their concern for the bigger picture that they decided to make the post-season even longer than the annual marathon it has become.”

Larry Brooks, New York Post: “While there are ancillary matters to be negotiated — including adjusting contract dates and the critical dates calendar — escrow and the cap are the blue chip issues facing the league and the union. If the tournament is in fact played, the PA will owe approximately an additional 14 percent of escrow for 2020-21 (if not, it will be closer to 21 percent). Under the current CBA, the players would be responsible for making that up entirely next season, with revenue projections currently impossible. That means the players could easily face escrow deductions of 40 percent or more. The parties are attempting to negotiate an agreement that would cap escrow deductions and allow the players to pay the league back over an extended period of time. Additionally and inextricably linked, the CBA provides that the cap is basically established based on the previous season’s revenue, with leave for the parties to work off that number. But if that holds for 2020-21, the cap would go down a substantial amount, perhaps more than $10 million from this year’s $81.5M. That would lower escrow to a manageable figure, but it would produce chaos and instability throughout the NHL, with every team in the league having surpassed $72M as its final 2019-20 number, per Capfriendly.com.”

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