Prosperity. Prosperity. Prosperity.
If there is anything that we can learn by looking at recent history, both in the NHL, and in other professional sports, it's this; labour peace results in nothing but money, money, money. Baseball hands out multi-million dollar contracts to players with very average stats like so much toilet paper, mainly because everyone, teams, players, fans, broadcasters, and advertisers can count on opening day, a full season, and a World Series. And, no, this is not thanks to the efforts of the previous incarnation of Donald Fehr. In the NHL, despite the fact the the last CBA was looked upon at the time as a huge win for the NHL, and a huge letdown for the players, player salaries went up dramatically during it's term. The last CBA resulted in huge financial gains for the players, but also increased the disparity between the haves and have-nots among the franchises. That's why the NHL locked the players out the nanosecond the CBA expired. It was refreshing to hear some honesty in an unguarded moment from Gary Bettman that, yes, there are some franchises in trouble.
All of this leads me to be puzzled as to why the NHLPA is so insistent on limiting the term of the CBA to 5 years. Recent history alone should inform them otherwise. What looked like a huge sacrifice by the players 7 years ago, ended up being a financial winfall for them. It is a virtual certainty that an expired CBA in professional sports will result in some form of work stoppage, and there is one thing that will always be true. No matter what, any money lost by players in a work stoppage will never be recoverable. So even at the most basic of levels, avoiding the inevitable work stoppage should be reason enough to delay it as long as possible.
I'm also seeing many articles in the media about how a long CBA will hurt the "mid-level" player, and how in a cap system, the bulk of the money each team spends will go to a few stars, and the rest of the roster will be filled with low income earners. Again, history has taught us that this is not a winning recipe. One need only look at the last three Cup winners. Chicago, Boston, and LA were all balanced teams, with a healthy mix of talent levels. Any NHL GM willing to gamble on a few mega stars and a bunch of low level talent will soon learn the TEAMS win championships, not stars, and the economic mix on any particular team will quickly balance itself out.
The growth that the NHL has experienced in the last few years was the direct result of all parties, teams, their GMs, players, fans, broadcasters, and sponsors, all knowing what to expect, because there was a defined time of "status quo." The single greatest benefactors to this? Just look at the average salary of an NHL player prior to the last CBA, in comparison to today, and that will answer your question. If the NHLPA membership believes that a short term CBA is in their interest, then they simple can't do math, and should call their agents. The only players that could potentially benefit from another CBA battle in 5 years are all playing Midget hockey right now, and worrying more about their acne than where they'll sign their next pro contract.