NHL, NHLPA to meet again Thursday
TORONTO -- The National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players' Association will resume negotiations toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday, 48 hours after the League made a proposal that could allow an 82-game regular-season schedule to be played, beginning Nov. 2.
The meeting Thursday will take place at the NHLPA's downtown office, where on Tuesday NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly made the NHL's offer to preserve a full season.
"We're focused on getting the puck dropped on Nov. 2 and playing a full 82-game regular-season and full [Stanley Cup] Playoffs," Commissioner Bettman said Tuesday after making the offer during an hour-long bargaining session. "That's what this offer is all about."
Wednesday, the League made public its offer.
The proposed CBA is for six years, with a mutual option for a seventh year, and includes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue (HRR) for the duration of the deal.
The proposal also does not call for rollbacks to current player contracts.
In the proposed deal, entry-level contracts would be two years in length; maximum length on all other contracts would be five years; and unrestricted free agency would be 28 years of age or eight accrued seasons in the NHL.
In revenue sharing, the proposal calls for a commitment of $200 million to the 2012-13 revenue-sharing pool that would be adjusted based on the actual hockey-related revenue calculations following the season.
The proposed salary cap for the 2012-13 season in the NHL's offer is $59.9 million, but transition rules would allow teams to go as high as $70.2 million for one season. The proposed salary-cap floor would be $43.9 million.
Commissioner Bettman stressed Tuesday the proposal addresses concerns the Union has expressed about how salaries will be affected with their share of HRR being reduced from 57 percent in the final year of the previous CBA to a 50-percent share in the proposal made Tuesday.
"We believe this was a fair offer for a long-term deal and it's one that we hope gets a positive reaction so that we can drop the puck on Nov. 2, which backing up entails at least a one-week training camp," Commissioner Bettman said. "So, we have about nine or 10 days to put this all to bed, signed, sealed and delivered in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward. We hope that this effort that we've undertaken today will be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans."
The Union held a conference call with its executive board and negotiating committee to discuss the offer Tuesday evening and continued internal discussions Wednesday.
"Our hope is that after we review this that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion," Fehr said Tuesday. "But, we are not in a position to make any comments about it beyond that at this point."
Commissioner Bettman said he understood the Union's need to study the proposal.
"Obviously, we didn't put this proposal, this offer, together overnight and they're going to need a little time to review it," he said. "I'm hoping that review will get us to a positive and constructive place."
For an 82-game regular-season to begin Nov. 2, Commissioner Bettman said each team would have to play one additional game every five weeks. That would allow the completion of the Stanley Cup Final in late June.
"Beyond that, we don't think it would be good for the players or for the game," Commissioner Bettman said. "If you look at what our ability would be to schedule 82 games and you work back from Nov. 2, if we didn't do it now, if we didn't put an offer on the table that we thought was fair and could get us playing hockey, then it probably wasn't going to happen for a while because, again, it is done in the spirit of getting a full season in."
The NHL locked out the players on Sept. 16 due to the lack of a CBA. The regular-season schedule through Oct. 24 has been cancelled, and Daly has estimated the shared revenue loss so far between the League and the NHLPA is in the neighborhood of $250 million.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl