A lack of trust between the NHL and NHLPA is stalling the CBA talks and helping prevent the lockout from ending, but with the NHLPA reportedly bringing a new offer to the bargaining table on Wednesday (via ESPN New York's Katie Strang), will either side be willing to make the first major concession?
#CBA NHL, NHLPA set to resume negotiations in NYC today at 10 a.m. NHLPA expected to deliver new proposal.— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) November 21, 2012
As with the previous NHLPA proposals, it sounds like there will be a healthy player turnout in New York tomorrow.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 21, 2012
UPDATE: Wednesday, November 21 at 11:57 p.m. ET by Nicholas Goss
The first CBA meeting of the day has ended, and the two sides are expected to meet again in the afternoon, according to Ren Lavoie of RDS:
Don Fehr:"NHL will respond to us around 1 PM."— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) November 21, 2012
Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press also has some reaction from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr:
Donald Fehr says new proposal is "about as good we can do."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 21, 2012
The NHLPA made a proposal to the NHL Wednesday morning, and the core economic issues were addressed. Dan Rosen of NHL.com has some information on the economics of the league's proposal.
Fehr said of the 2 sides that "at the moment we are exactly $182 million apart" in the players share over 5 years.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) November 21, 2012
Fehr acknowledged that the proposal was based on dividing HRR on a percentage base.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) November 21, 2012
According to John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca, the players' offer also includes some movement on player contract rights.
As part of the PA proposal, union would agree to small variance on contracts, but not agree to terms limit on deals.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) November 21, 2012
Crafting a proposal using percentages is a significant move by the players, and should lead to positive negotiations.
The $182 million gap between the two sides (five-year deal proposed) is about $36.4 million per season, which is bit more than $1 million per team (30 teams). There's no reason to lose a season over this amount of money, especially when the NHL earned $3.3 billion of revenue during the 2011-12 season.
It will be interesting to see if the NHL also thinks that the two sides are $182 million apart. We have seen both sides have a different view on how far apart they are on certain issues a few times over the last few months.
Hockey fans shouldn't be too optimistic about this morning's meeting because we have been excited before, only to have the NHL respond with an offer that the players did not like. However, this is the furthest that the NHLPA has gone toward the owners in this process, so there are reasons to be optimistic.
When the NHL responds this afternoon, it will be much easier to determine how much progress has actually been made today.
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Hockey fans will hope that Wednesday's meeting is a lengthy one because that would probably indicate that the league doesn't find the NHLPA's proposal outrageous. A short meeting would not be a good sign, and probably tell us that the league was not pleased with the union's offer(s).
You've probably heard this before, but Wednesday is a "crucial day" in these negotiations. There is a serious lack of trust between both sides right now, and no one wants to make the first significant concession and risk any advantages they may have in negotiations.
Should the NHLPA give its best offer to the league right now, or wait until there is more pressure on the owners to start the season? It's a difficult question for the players to answer, but they definitely need to make a better offer(s) than they did last month.
What will happen if the league does not like the NHLPA's proposal on Wednesday? Expect more regular season games to be cancelled soon, and the next block will likely include the 2013 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.
Wednesday will either be a day when real progress is made and meaningful negotiations will commence, or the level of frustration felt by everyone will raise even higher.
Hopefully the NHL and NHLPA finally exhibit some common sense and realize that wasting more time is going to inflict real damage on the sport.