I know what you're saying, but I'd hardly call it generous to agree to honor a portion of the contract you've decided not to pay in full, some of which were signed only months ago.
good article on the breakdown of the core economic issues and while those are the most important issues, there are some things that the owners have given the players. and while they aren't nearly as important as the big issues, i'm sure the players will be glad to have them. also, that article didn't mention the pension issues, which would be considered an owner's concession
legally, the owners are the ones being generous with the make whole because all contracts signed are subject to changes to a new cba. the players and agents are fully aware that contracts could and most likely will be changed when a new cba comes along, which is why i believe suter and parise got so much signing bonus money, which is not subject to cba changes. now you could argue morally and ethically the owners are in the wrong if they don't offer to honor contracts in full which i agree they should, but legally they don't have to.
My understanding is they tried a similar move in the NBA lockout (which isn't surprising since all 4 major sports are repped by the same law firm in CBA negotiations) and it got quickly shot down. While they NBA players agreed to 50/50, they play in a league with a soft cap and luxury tax and had the owners make a large increase in revenue sharing.
All sports are different, but the NBA is a relatively close business to the NHL. And in comparison, the NHL players are getting hammered in this negotiation, in great part due to the sins of the owners.
And of the things that benefit players listed in the article:
1) artificially inflate the salary cap in Year 1 so teams don’t have to trade or release players;
That helps the owners just as much for teams to get under the cap. And I would hardly call that a benefit to players, other than things could have been much worse. They're having their salaries cut back and the cap further restricted. Not waiving players isn't a benefit offered to the players. It just means the owners didn't make things even worse for them.
This is the problem I have with the logic of the league side. Because of the owners ridiculous first proposal, Bettman keeps claiming all they've done is concede. Starting at an insane point and moving towards something reasonable, however, is not really a concession. It just means you've actually decided to negotiate in good faith. Fehr should have started by taking the cap off the table, or increasing player share to 70%. Then he could have "conceded" to allowing the cap be in play again. Or having the percentage come down to 60%.
At best, this one's a wash.
2) trade player salary and cap charges in trades (this is something both teams and players have wanted);
probably benefits owners more in that they can dump the awful deals they've made. At best, also a wash.
3) eliminate re-entry waivers;
I'd say wash, but I may be missing something on how this benefits players more than owners because I don't know all the ins and outs. Teams being able to send players down without potentially losing them is a benefit.
4) Increase revenue sharing with further increases as revenues grow, and the top grossing teams making the biggest contributions (revenue sharing is something Don Fehr is passionate about; wants it so the teams that really need assistance are assisted);
This helps the league and unlike anything the owners have proposed, actually addresses the fundamental problem in the league's economic structure. Definitely a wash.
5) Introduction of appeal rights to a neutral third-party arbitrator in cases involving on- and- off-ice discipline (player-proposed wish).
This one I don't know much about but I initially read somewhere it would probably be a very rare circumstance.
Taken in total, none of those even come close to moving from 57 to 50% in salary and giving up all the contracting rights the players will need to in order to make a deal.
Negotiations are give and take. The starting point for who determining who is conceding something is the last CBA, not the first ridiculous proposal the NHL made. Bettman keeps trying this slight of hand and it seems to be working on people.