Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NHL's Final Offer

Gary Bettman has made a final offer to the NHLPA: $42.5 Million hard cap, with a luxury tax at some level below that. Bettman claims they are unwilling to negotiate off of this number. He has given Bob Goodenhow an 11am deadline to respond to the offer. The NHL's press confrerence to announce a deal or cancel the season is set for 1pm EST in New York City.

Here's the text of Bettman's letter to Goodenhow.

Dear Bob:

We attempted to reach out to you with yesterday's offer of a team maximum cap of $42.2MM ($40MM in salary and $2.2MM in benefits) which was not linked to League-wide revenues. As Bill told Ted, "de-linking" a maximum team salary cap from League revenues and total League-wide player compensation has always been problematic for us, especially since we cannot now quantify the damage to the League from the lockout. This presents the risk we will pay out more than we can afford. As you know, if all 30 teams were to spend to the maximum we proposed, and if the damage to our business is as we discussed at our meetings in New York, then the League would continue to lose money.

I know, as do you, that the "deal" we can make will only get worse for the players if we cancel the season – whatever damage we have suffered to date will pale in comparison to the damage from a cancelled season and we will certainly not be able to afford what is presently on the table. Accordingly, I am making one final effort to reach out to make a deal that will let us play this season.

We are increasing our offer of yesterday by increasing the maximum individual team cap to $44.7MM ($42.5MM in salary and $2.2MM in benefits). This offer is not an invitation to begin negotiations – it’s too late for that. This is our last effort to make a deal that's fair to the players and one that the Clubs (hopefully) can afford. We have no more flexibility and there is no time for further negotiation.

If this offer is acceptable, please let me know by 11:00 A.M. tomorrow, in advance of my scheduled press conference. Hopefully, the press conference will not be necessary.

Gary B. Bettman

Talk about the 11th hour...


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