I've heard from several reports that Nashville and FLorida led the league away from a $45 M cap offer despite earlier reports that the deal was done. Why? I gotta wonder if these owners are playing politics, not against the players, but against the rich owners. I've believed through the process that the reason why Bettman maintained owner solidarity is because he steadfastly refused to let the PA negotiate a meaningful revenue sharing plan. I suspect that the rich owners support changes that bring costs down. Why wouldn't they. But they'd probably live with a much higher cap than the small owners and probably aren't as willing to cancel the season to play the hardball necessary to win a low cap. Everyone knows that the big reason for this situation is the revenue disparity. The WIngs and Rags and Leafs can afford $60 and $70 million payrolls. The Preds can barely afford $22.5. Bettman knows their is acrimony among the owners. SOme if it is personal(Illitch-Jacobs). But a lot of it probably has to do with the last CBA, when some of the rich owners deserted the small owners. He knew that the only way to win was to promise a win-win scenario for all owners, rich and poor. He kept meaningful revenue sharing if the table to keep the rich owners from getting angry about using their own hard earned money to finance the poor teams. In return, these owners had to keep their traps shut and strap themselves in for a salary cap that the small teams could live with. All the owners win with this scenario. The small teams have a decent chance for competitiveness and profit. The rich owners get to rake in the cash. But in the past week, Bettman upped the cap to over $42M. (WHy? For real? For show? For the labor board? Sincere attempt to get a deal? Who knows?) That's more of a middle class salary tax for teams like St. Louis and the Islanders than it is for the Nashvilles of the world. We've heard several reports about some owners being angered bythis, including owners from Nashville and Florida. So maybe, realizing that they've been somewhat screwed here, these owners are now refusing to sign anything unless the rich owners (and players, for that matter) give up a luxury tax (dollar for dollar, perhaps, from $35 to 45Million) Just a theory, of course. But something is going on in the owners chambers. Bettman's once solid group has splintered. This much is clear. The question is why? And how will this play.