NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 24: Fans of the Nashville Predators cheer during a timeout in a game against the Anaheim Ducks in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
In a late-night filing with the New York Post, Larry Brooks reports that the NHL Players Association has audited some teams' books from the 2010-2011 season, and come up with contentious findings (thanks to @wayne_chow on Twitter for passing this along):
We're told Washington and Nashville are among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration.
The NHLPA, under previous leadership, has long been plagued by dysfunction, mis-communication, and lack of engagement by the rank & file, but new Executive Director Donald Fehr appears to be righting this ship, as apparently this is the first time under this Collective Bargaining Agreement that the PA has taken advantage of their rights to check the financials before the vault door is closed, and final revenue sharing & escrow refund checks are distributed.
It's been reported in several outlets that those checks from last season are held up right now, due in large part to a disagreement over how $25 million, which the city of Glendale is paying the NHL to keep the Coyotes in place, should be treated. This dispute affects the Predators directly, as they are likely major recipients of that final round of revenue sharing.
Size of Predators-related dispute not known
One important thing to remember here is that we don't know at this time just how much revenue is alleged by the NHLPA as not being reported. The definition of "Hockey Related Revenue", which is the financial stream which drives the whole Salary Cap & Revenue Sharing system, is a complicated matter, taking up more than 20 pages of the CBA.
Frankly, I'd be stunned if the PA audited the books and didn't find something to argue over.
What's important in this story is that the PA actually seems to be preparing itself more effectively for upcoming CBA negotiations than in previous instances. While that might make for a more contentious battle, at least we can hope that a combination of stronger leadership and greater involvement by the players can help get the next deal done without any form of work stoppage.