Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Magic 8-Ball speaks...

...and it says "outlook not so good."

Three hours of spirited discussion between representatives of the NHL and NHLPA ended around 3 PM in Manhattan today. While the players made a bold step in presenting a new proposal to try and shrink the "philosophical gap" that still exists, signs are that it will not be enough to mollify the Commissioner or satisfy the owners.

On the table this afternoon was an amended NHL offer regarding that bugaboo known as Hockey Related Revenues: the players would receive 49 percent in the first year (as opposed to the 57% stated previously), and then a reduction to 47 percent is in the offing.

"They made a responsive proposal. It obviously has to be studied. We hope that they will be studying our proposal further. It is too early to say whether or this is going to represent  any meaningful  progress," said NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr.

Full details of the players' counter-offer have not been disclosed, but Fehr stated that his charges are not willing to accept another salary rollback (24%) like the one the players conceded in 2005. Bettman stated, according to RDS, that the league asked for a nine-percent salary drop as opposed to its original 24-percent request in July.

In addition, the station reported that the PA was willing to extend its proposed CBA length from four to five years.

However, he stated that the players are willing to take a reduction in HRR, provided there is a provision for the league to engage in revenue sharing.

If -- and presumably -- when that proposal is not accepted by the PA, it will officially be off the table come Saturday, as Bettman said this morning. The feeling is apparently mutual, as the league's chief added "the players' proposal was not much different and was not acceptable."

Despite an estimated 275 players traveling to New York in order to show "solidarity" for their cause, it appears there are also no further plans to talk. That means, unless significant progress is made in talks which were scheduled for tomorrow, there will be a lockout in the legal definition of the word as the deadline to renew the current Collective Bargaining Agreement will have expired.

The NHL has announced a press conference at 3:30 PM on Thursday, with an accompanying conference call. Prior to that, Bettman stated there will be a meeting of the Board of Governors.

"We are not going to announce something dramatic after the board meeting," the commish stated.

Don Fehr stated that players will continue to meet this evening and also tomorrow morning.

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