After the NHL lost the 2004-05 season to a labor dispute, the players crawled back and were big-time losers in the negotiations.
Salaries were drastically cut and a cap was installed.
This time, the players are more unified and determined to stand up to the owners, veteran Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said.
“Seven years ago, we missed a year and then the players gave up,” Timonen said after working out at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Thursday. “We gave up a 24 percent rollback; we gave up a salary cap.”
This year, the league’s initial offer “was the same it was seven years ago _ 24 percent (rollback in salaries) and 43 percent of the revenue sharing,” as opposed to 57 percent in the last CBA, Timonen said.
“I think that was the wrong way to start the negotiations this time,” he said. “I think the union is much better this time around. We’re more informed, we’re more open. You can lock in (to information) on your phones. We know what’s going on.”
As for the owners’ demands, “I don’t think it’s going to work this time around,” Timonen said.”Both sides have to give up something, but coming from seven years ago and what we gave up, I don’t think it’s going to happen this time. That’s why I’m afraid it might take a while.”
One of the main issues is hockey-related revenue (HRR). The players received 57 percent of the pie in the last CBA; the owners are offering 49 percent in the first year of the proposed six-year plan, It is at 47 percent in the last year of the contract.
There are numerous other issues that are holding up a new CBA, including revenue sharing, lengths of contracts, and changes in free agency.
Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL’s Players’ Association, “is more open” and “asks a lot of questions,” Timonen said. “There’s no closed-door meetings like happened way back. It’s easy now to follow what’s going on, and he tells us in simple words what’s going to happen.”
If a new collective-bargaining agreement isn’t signed by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, the owners will impose a lockout _ the third since Gary Bettman became the commissioner in 1993.
“Hope is kind of slim right now, but we’ll see,” said Timonen, who plans to stay in Haddonfield and not play overseas _ unless it looks like the whole NHL season is going to be shut down.
Lilja update. Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja was allowed to walk around without crutches Thursday for the first time since he had surgery in late July to repair a degenerative condition in his left hip. If there is a lockout, Lilja will get paid and be able work out at the team's training facility because he is rehabbing from the injury.
The Flyers hope he is ready to play in late October or early November.
Waivers wire. The Flyers put defenseman Danny Syvret and winger Matt Ford on waivers. If they clear at noon on Friday, they will take part in the Phantoms’ AHL training camp, which starts Sept. 29 in Voorhees.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.