Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kevin Shattenkirk, Andy McDonald respond to NHL proposal

Blues' player rep calls latest league offer "meaningful"

ST. LOUIS -- Blues defenseman and player rep Kevin Shattenkirk along with veteran forward Andy McDonald talk about the latest proposal by the NHL that could be the start of fruitful negotiations and could ultimately lead to the end of the NHL lockout that began Sept. 16.

If negotiations can get done over the next 7-10 days, the idea is that a full 82-game NHL season can be salvaged and begin play on Nov. 2.

Some key points that came from today's league offer, based off reports:

* The NHL has offered a 50-50 share of HRR (Hockey Related Revenue).

* Free agency for players would begin at 28 years of age, or after eight years of service.

* Entry-level contracts would drop from three years to two years.

* Revenue sharing would be roughly at $200 million.

*Length of contracts would max out at five years.

* Arbitration would still exist after league initially offered to eliminate it.

Here are Shattenkirk's comments and initial thoughts on today's developments:

What are your initial thoughts on today's proposal?
I think there's a lot of meaningful things we can take out of this. We really have to be happy that the NHL has brought something to the table and hopefully it's a starting point over the next 7-10 days here that we can negotiate from. I really think it shows that they're making a move and making an effort in our direction in showing that they're bargaining in good faith and that we can work to get something done here in the next couple days.

Fans seem to be really fired up about making traction based off today's league proposal. Do the players want them to be cautiously optimistic or how would you term their enthusiasm?
That's probably a great term to use for it (being cautiously optimistic). I think just in hearing the details of it, what's going to be pressed is the 50-50 split and then the rollback. I think it's important to get all the facts. There's more to it than just those two points, but it's definitely a good starting point hopefully and hopefully if and when we make our counter-proposal, that the NHL doesn't immediately say, 'That's it. That's what we're offering and if you guys don't take it, you guys are out of it and that's all you're getting.'

Do you feel like if this sort of proposal was made 2-3 months ago, there would be hockey today?
I'd like to think so. I'd like to think that if those initial two proposals for them weren't given out, maybe if we started at more of a middle ground from what we were offering that things would be done sooner. But it's so hard to say. I think what happens is they've taken a lot of what we offered under consideration. Whether we would have gotten to this point sooner by starting sooner, who knows. I think it definitely shows that the NHL is taking what we're saying into consideration and vice versa. I think with this move, the ball's in our court and it's time to see what we do with it and where it goes from here.

Are there still concerns that remain after looking at this latest proposal or do you feel like you can bridge the gaps and get something done?
I don't think there's anything ridiculous like we saw in the first proposal that they offered us. That just made us completely shake our heads and dismiss it. I think there's obviously plenty of points there that we feel we can improve on. But I feel like that they've come towards us in those areas and I feel like we can definitely now work from there and meet somewhere and get it done.

McDonald talks specifically about HRR and revenue sharing:

Report on NHL wanting to change the definition of HRR:
What we've been told is that they want to 'clarify' it, but they haven't given any detail about what that means. You've got to suspect that that means they want to reduce it somehow, or redefine it somehow. So obviously we have to be given a more detailed explanation, so we know exactly what we're talking about.

Did the NHL address revenue sharing?

I think they've made an effort to kind of move in our direction with revenue sharing. I think our concern is making sure that the teams that are getting the money ... are doing more than just getting the money ... they're doing something that can grow the game. I think it's a positive that they've addressed the revenue sharing.

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