Only days after canceling the NHL’s marquee event of the regular season, the 2013 Winter Classic, the NHL and NHLPA have picked up talks once again.
The talks between the two lasted for a reported seven hours on Tuesday. While neither side relayed any details about the state of progress, they are slated to meet up again today to continue negotiations.
Whether they are sensing desperation in the air or finally finding common ground at the bargaining table, the newfound, seemingly rigorous pursuit of a new CBA between the owners and the players should provide fans with a sense of solace not felt since talks of lockout commenced this past summer.
It would seem—given the dedication shown in their most recent bargaining session—that the NHL and NHLPA are devoted to getting in a partial season, despite the cancellation of the Winter Classic and the impossibility of a full 82-game regular season.
In mid-October, the owners put forth a proposal that saw hockey-related revenue shared between the two groups relegated to 50% each. This was seen as a huge concession by the owners, who staunchly had asserted unbalanced revenue sharing in their favor previously.
The offer included a “make whole” provision, which became a major point of contention when the players returned to the bargaining table.
It would require the players, not the owners, to pay for losses in salary from the first year after the new CBA was signed—which would in effect reduce their salaries in later years. The NHLPA returned to the bargaining table a couple of days later with three different offers of their own, which the owners reportedly shot down after only minutes of consideration.
After weeks of cold shouldering, it was reported that NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr had resumed light discussions this past weekend, in order to get the two sides back to the bargaining table.The talks included rumors regarding the NHL's "make whole" provision, which indicated the possibility of the league paying players for any potential lost salary given the provisions of the new CBA.
Given the hostile climate that has developed between the league and the players in the last couple of months, it’s a very good sign that the owners and the players are not only meeting, but negotiating arduously and consistently in order to get a new deal into place.
At this point, fans can only hope that these negotiations remain constant and meaningful.