If the NHLs owners and players cannot come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by Sept. 15, Capitals center Mike Ribeiro says it will be because of the leagues inability to come up with a revenue sharing plan that works.
Speaking to a small group of reporters following an informal workout at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday, Ribeiro said players will not agree to the estimated 20 percent rollbacks reportedly proposed by the league in its last contract offer.
Its hard to understand why they want another 20 percent back and keep the same contracts, Ribeiro said. Its hard to understand why, but I think this time we wont make the same mistake we did a few years ago by giving them 24 percent. Why would you give your boss back money he gave you?
After losing an entire season in the 2004-05 lockout, NHL players agreed to a salary cap and a one-year, 24 percent rollback of their salaries.
In the NHLs most recent proposal, players are being asked to have their share of the leagues revenue, estimated at 3.3 billion in 2011-12, from 57 percent to 46 percent.
NHL players have suggested that will result in a 19.3 percent rollback in the first year of the CBA, a figure NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly disputed Wednesday in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
What I will tell you is that our proposal last Tuesday would have reduced the players share by 11 percent in Year One, 8.5 percent in Year 2 and 5.5 percent in Year 3, Daly said. In Years 4-6, it would have been at or above as we continue to grow revenues to prior levels. So I dont know where theyre getting 20 percent.
Ribeiro said the leagues most recent proposal is unacceptable because it fails to address the gap between the NHL teams that make large profits and the ones that claim they are operating in the red.
I dont see why we have to give back, Ribeiro said. They want us to fix the mistakes they made.
According to capgeek.com, the Boston Bruins are currently carrying the NHLs highest salary cap payroll at 68.8 million, while the Phoenix Coyotes are at the bottom at 44.8 million.
Ribeiro pointed to the recent contracts given to Nashvilles Shea Weber 14 years, 110 million, Pittsburghs Sidney Crosby 12 years, 104.4 million and Minnesotas Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, 13 years, 98 million each as evidence that owners care more about their teams success than the financial stability of the league.
If Im the owner, Id be complaining about those contracts, Ribeiro said. Between them, I think there are owners who will do whatever they want to do and not really care about the bottom ones.
I think between them they should figure out what they want to do as owners and come back and give us an option. Its common sense. What, five years from now are you going to ask another 30 percent because you made the same mistakes for the last 12 years? Its hard to understand.
If there is a lockout, Ribeiro, who is 32 and in the final year of a five-year, 25 million contract, said he has no interest in playing overseas, not with his three children getting accustomed to their new schools in McLean, Va.
Ill probably just stay here and find a job somewhere, he said.
But he will recommend playing elsewhere to some of his younger Capitals teammates.
This time, we know if a lockout happens, we can just go on the other side and well play and well keep in shape, said Ribeiro, who played 17 games with Helsinki of the Finnish league during the 2004-05 lockout.
Guys are less nervous than we were during the 2004-05 lockout because theres an option for us. If they want to lock us, guys will find jobs somewhere else and play and keep playing.
Fans will pay here and owners, too. But I think as players, we learned last time that, hey, we can play other places and make a good living. At the end of the day we want to play hockey and if there is somewhere that accepts us well go there and play.