NHLPA to Meet Today, Could a Counterproposal Be Coming?

James Wrabel, Jr.@TheWrageCorrespondent IIAugust 31, 2012

Chris Young / Associated Press / August 24, 2012
Chris Young / Associated Press / August 24, 2012

After the NHL submitted its latest reconstruction of a proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement Tuesday, the NHLPA has since then been diligent in a response. The word is that today the Players' Association will have another counterproposal as labor negotiations continue with the September 15 deadline just 15 days away.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke with Dan Rosen of NHL.com about his hopefulness that these latest negotiations have been fruitful.

"We feel like we made a good step in that direction (toward progress) earlier this week and we hope that they would take a step forward as well," Daly said.

The NHL's new proposal outlined a new definition for Hockey-Related Revenue (HRR), with the player receiving a fixed share the first three years of a six-year deal and the last three based on a percentage along with a recalculation of escrow. 

With the fixed share comes a lower salary cap. Under the NHL's proposed CBA, the cap would be set at $58 million next season. At the moment, more than half the teams in the NHL (16 to be exact) would be over the cap.

Obviously, this will be a bone of contention for the PA.

While there are no salary rollbacks in this latest proposal—something that could've been a kiss of death if it were included—the NHL's reduction of player escrow along with lower salary cap numbers is, in a way, salary rollbacks without directly saying so.

Union Director Donald Fehr will not agree to any proposal that would see a major portion of his union members without work following the next season with teams needing to get under a lower salary cap. 

Still, both sides talking and working toward an agreement is certainly better than the status quo prior to when both sides claimed the other had plenty of time to begin negotiations.

Daly did offer an interesting piece of information to Rosen that suggests the NHL may not be as rigid as it is perceived to be.

"We're not married to the structure, so if it's a good proposal [from the Union] and takes a different route, we're open to that," Daly said.

The bottom line is this: Put in the requisite amount of work to get a new CBA done and the season to start on time. Anything less would be a severe disappointment.