Thursday, October 18, 2012

NHLPA presents "menu" to NHL, league turns cold shoulder

Talks centered around a new Collective Bargaining Agreement continued on players union turf on Thursday, with a wrinkle even more clever than the one presented by the National Hockey League on Tuesday.

As reported by multiple outlets, former NHLer Mathieu Dandendault revealed through his Twitter account that the NHLPA presented a proposal, based from Tuesday's league offering, of four separate options -- each of which contain some kind of provision for a 50/50 split of the contentious Hockey Related Revenues.

Discussion in Toronto was supposed to have taken place as early as 1 PM, but were eventually pushed back to 2:30 PM.

And there is no good news to report, as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has struck down three of those proposals after breaking off talks.

"The Players' Association came back and basically made three alternate proposals on the players' share, all variations, to some degree, of the one proposal that they made over the summer and really haven't deviated from since," Bettman said.

"And none of the three variations of players' share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50 (revenue split) either at all or for some long period of time and it's clear that we're not speaking the same language in terms of what they came back to us with. It is still my hope that we can accomplish my goal, the League's goal of getting an 82-game season, but I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing. To the contrary, I think the proposal that was made by the Players' Association was in many ways a step backward."

Proposal #1 would give the players a fixed share of revenues in the first three years of the new CBA. That share would then be determined in the later years of the deal based on league growth. In Proposal #2, the players would take 25 percent of any growth, and under the league's five percent growth estimation each year, the players' share would reach 50 percent by Year 5 of the deal.

The third proposal aimed at making up the most ground in the quickest possible time frame: if the NHL agreed to honor all current contracts at their full value, the union would have accepted that touted 50/50 split immediately. NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr stated that he does not support the idea of the NHL's "make whole" provision regarding escrow.

However, the union was ready to give in to the even split if all actual signed contracts would still be paid at 100 percent without escrow.

"The NHL told us they are ready to tweak the last offer," Fehr said. "Today is not a good day. It should have been but it wasn't."

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