NHL Season in Trouble as Latest CBA Talks Produce No Results

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NHL Season in Trouble as Latest CBA Talks Produce No Results

Many hockey fans were optimistic that the NHL and NHLPA would be able to come closer to a new collective bargaining agreement during their meeting in Toronto on Thursday, but after about an hour of discussions, league commissioner Gary Bettman explained that the two sides are still far apart.

UPDATE: Thursday, October 18 at 6:03 p.m. ET by Nicholas Goss

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr spoke to the media Thursday evening after the three proposals that his union made to the NHL resulted in no progress being made toward a new agreement.

Fehr gave a breakdown of all three proposals made today. Here are some helpful tweets to help explain them (via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada and Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period).

Proposal 1

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

More from LeBrun and James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail.

Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean points out one stumbling block in these negotiations.

After looking over these tweets, one proposal that seems reasonable is option number three, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly doesn't think the third proposal was explained properly (Quotes via Dan Rosen of NHL.com)

If the third offer, as Daly explains, never reaches 50 percent and includes the players' share of HRR in year one being similar to what they got throughout the duration of the previous CBA, then it's not surprising that this proposal was denied in a hurry.

Right now, we don't have all the details needed to fully understand how fair the third offer is, but there is a chance we may see these proposals at some point (via Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press).

What's clear from the meetings this week is that the owners wanted their offer from Tuesday to be an "end" while the players saw it as a "starting point" to more negotiations.

Both sides don't seem willing to negotiate far from what they have proposed for months, and the NHL definitely doesn't seem ready to make any significant concessions beyond what they made in Tuesday's offer.

Here are two quotes from Fehr involving the league's willingness to negotiate (via Johnston and Michael Grange of Sportsnet).

Several players talked to reporters after Fehr finished speaking, and Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby spoke about today's meeting.

The players clearly want all of the money they signed for under the previous CBA, and right now, it doesn't seem like there is a way to do this that both sides think is fair.

The NHLPA is still angry over how much they gave up during the last lockout, and understandably, it has made them less willing to make concessions during this work stoppage.

To get a deal done, the players will have to make more concessions, or the owners will have to negotiate off of the NHLPA's three offers.

Unfortunately, neither of these scenarios seems likely to happen right now.

---End of Update---

Here are some of Bettman's comments, via ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

Bettman also provided an update on the Winter Classic (via Michael Grange of Sportsnet and James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail):

What do Thursday's events mean for the rest of the season?

All regular-season games have already been canceled through October 24, and expect more to be canceled in the immediate future unless talks surprisingly resume in the next week. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, more games could be lost as soon as Friday.

The chances of having an 82-game season are as slim as you could imagine, but more importantly, the chances that we even see hockey at all this winter might have taken a turn for the worst.

A major difference between the proposals that the NHLPA brought to the table on Thursday and the NHL's offer from earlier this week is how long it will take for each side to split hockey-related revenues (HRR) 50-50 (via Katie Strang of ESPN). 

The players don't want to accept a seven-percent reduction from their previous share of 57 percent of HRR in Year 1 of the new CBA. However, the owners seem unwilling to accept a deal that includes the players receiving anything above 50 percent of HRR in the first few years of the next agreement.

Which side do you blame for the lack of progress made Thursday?

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For the owners to be frustrated with each proposal made by the players on Thursday, it's hard to imagine that the NHLPA crafted their offers off of Tuesday's proposal from the league.

One disappointing outcome of this bargaining session was revealed when Bettman told reporters that “It’s clear we’re not speaking the same language.”

For the two sides to not be speaking the same language at this stage of the process is frustrating, disappointing and a little bit frightening.

As for the players' response to this meeting, we likely won't be hearing from the NHLPA until Thursday evening.

Be sure to check back to this article later for a complete update with analysis and reaction after NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr speaks to the media.

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.

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