We know that the National Hockey League and its Players Association need to get together to discuss what will come of the 2020-21 season and what the set-up of that campaign will look like. However, there might be some much added tension to that meeting since it was revealed by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports that the league is hoping to get the players’ salary reduced, especially if the campaign is shortened. Here is how Lavoie explained it a week ago, translated from French:
“In the collective bargaining agreement, it is written that the players will cash in 72% of their salary once the 2021 season gets underway. But what if the season is shorter than the usual 82 games? The NHL wants to go on a proportion basis. I think it’s logical. However, according to the NHLPA, the agreement the players signed with the NHL does not mention the proportion salary option, but rather that players will earn 72% of their total salary as long as one single game gets played.”
Lavoie’s words came to the ears of Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel, who then spoke on TVA Sports, to say that he’s spoken with other players and that if the NHL wants to force the proportion basis salary, it will be a major breaking point in upcoming negotiations for the 2020-21 season. Here is how Roussel reacted, translated from French:
“We never signed an agreement talking about pro-rata. What we signed was an agreement that guaranteed our salary for the entire season. We have already agreed to pay cuts of 20% ... I guarantee you that I did not give my consent to a pro-rata agreement.
“We agreed to go Edmonton in the summer and we made sure that the NHL didn't lose a lot of money (due to the pandemic). Obviously, the players want to play as early as possible. To be unable to play, that would be the worst scenario.”
However, Roussel is adamant that players will not agree to a pro-rata salary agreement if the NHL pushes for it. He adds that it would mean a tipping point between both sides during negotiations.
"It's undeniable. It would be a huge breaking point. We negotiated heartily and fairly with everyone. If the NHL comes to us with a pro-rata approach, it would be like lying to us. And I think all NHL players agree on that point.”
When you think there is some good and some hope, then there is more bad and ugly…