Bettman backtrack? Says NHL is not looking to renegotiate

Less than 24 hours after a report from TSN stating the NHL may claim Force Majeure to cancel the season, there seems to be an entirely different story now. According to Gary Bettman there are no threats and they are working towards the new season.

Bettman says NHL not trying to renegotiate

“We’re not actually having negotiations and we’re not seeking to renegotiate,” the commissioner said at the Sports Business Journal’s ‘conference. “We made a number of assumptions collectively over the summer, most of which are not applicable anymore. There are a lot of things that we have to deal with if we’re going to return to play.”

This of course prompted another fiery response from outspoken agent, Allan Walsh. In a tweet he said that Bettman’s comments were, “patently false.” He continued that the issue is simply that some of the hard core owners simply don’t like the deal and want a better one.

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Trying to be fair and see both sides

bettman cba
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Bettman brings up genuine concerns. Regardless of the semantics if this is a renegotiation of the CBA signed four months ago or not.

“Under our [collective bargaining] deal, and the one we’ve had for more than a decade with the players’ association, whatever the revenues are the players only get 50 per cent,” said Bettman. “And if we overpay them and they don’t pay us back in the short term, they have to pay us back over time. There will be stresses on the system and we’ve had discussions about what those stresses are and how they might be dealt with, but we’re not trying to say ‘You must do X, Y and Z.’ We’re trying to look for ways to continue to work together.

Gary Bettman via Sportsnet

What Bettman appears to be trying to do is head off a future issue that will cause even more consternation down the road. “If the players owe us more money than anybody imagined, the salary cap could well be flat or close to flat for the next five or six years and players into the future will be repaying what we’re owed.”

A flat cap at around $81.5 million for the next 6-7 years will have a major impact on all teams. Furthermore, it will hurt all players looking for new contracts in the near future.

If you think this past offseason was a let down, imagine what that will look like 5 years from now.