Vancouver Canucks’ NHLPA rep Cory Schneider ‘encouraged’ by, but cautious about NHL’s new 50-50 offer (with Twitter reaction)
‘I think everyone has been looking for a gesture, someone to make a move and they made a move’
VANCOUVER — Locked-out Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider was encouraged Tuesday by the National Hockey League's new offer but cautioned it was too early to say it would be the basis for a solution.
Among the highlights in the offer were a 50-50 split in hockey related revenues, one more year of service towards unrestricted free agency (from seven to eight) and a cap on long-term contracts to five years.
“I think we're going to wait until all the 'i's are dotted and the 't's are crossed before we get optimistic,” said Schneider, a member of the NHLPA's bargaining committee. “Yes, of course, it's encouraging. It's a step towards us. Fifty-fifty is not necessarily what we want as a split but I think everyone has been looking for a gesture, someone to make a move and they made a move. Now we need to analyze it and get back to them with an answer: yes or no.”
Schneider spoke with reporters immediately after coming off the ice at UBC and admitted he was not aware of all details in the proposal. His comments were based on information supplied to him by media members. He was to participate in a conference call with union head Donald Fehr later Tuesday.
Prior to the conference call, Fehr said in Toronto he would “like to believe” the NHL offer “will be an excellent starting point” to see if there was a deal to be made. Schneider seemed buoyed by the word “excellent” in the Fehr comment.
“It's a good sign if either of the leaders are sharing optimism because it's been pretty bleak up to this point,” he said.
Under the league proposal, training camps would open Oct. 25 and a full 82-game schedule would begin Nov. 2. One game would be added during a five-week period to make up for the lost dates. This timeline would ensure that players receive their full salaries minus any escrow payments to be negotiated. (The Canucks would require 11 games to be rescheduled.)
“I don't think the owners want to lose revenue and I don't think we want to lose paycheques,” Schneider continued. “So if this was to get everyone what they were promised, or what they think they should get, that's a good sign. Maybe it's a different story six months from now if guys are banged up and haven't had as much rest as they can but I think we'd rather play 82 games than 70 or something like that.”
Centre Manny Malhotra, also a member of the NHLPA bargaining committee, seemed a little more reserved than Schneider, his comments again based on what media members were reporting to him.
“We have to see what the deal is comprised of,” Malhotra said. “I think too often over the past few weeks people have been obsessed with this number, this percentage of 50-50, to all other things around the CBA as far as contract negotiating leverage, term of contracts, what that HRR is comprised of. So to just throw around these percentages doesn't really do what we're doing here justice.”
Malhotra was curious to examine all the fine points of the owners' offer.
“It's been a take, take, take type of mentality, so we'll see what incentives are in this offer,” he explained. “I've always said as long as the lines of communication are open, that's positive. But to say they're giving us back not having to play 10 years to be an unrestricted free agent, that was never really something that was taken away from us to begin with.
“So it's not really a concession. We expected those type of things to be taken off the table.”
Defenceman Dan Hamhuis said he was interested in discovering what the 50 per cent players' take would entail.
“Fifty-fifty of what?” Hamhuis wondered. “Fifty-fifty can be a number of anything. You have to look at what's behind the numbers. So that's what we're going to look at. Fifty-fifty means nothing to us right now. It's good they have moved off 43 per cent (first proposal to players). They had to be moving off that number if we're going to be playing hockey. So it's good to see.”
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