The NHL and NHLPA will meet on Monday to try and work out a deal that will allow a partial 2013 NHL season to be saved, according to CBS New York. The pressure is on to get something done, and quickly, as the NHLPA still has that disclaimer of interest hanging out there—something that the union has until Wednesday to decide to file.
The NHLPA has had time to look at the NHL’s latest offer and will most likely come to the table on Monday with a counteroffer in hand. With the decertification hanging in the air, the concept of good-faith bargaining will surely be tested.
If a deal can be struck quickly or if things fall apart before the deadline to file the disclaimer comes to pass, this will all be a moot point. But if the sides are still talking by midweek, the NHLPA will have a huge decision to make.
If they decide to file the disclaimer, the talks will have to cease, as the NHLPA will no longer represent the players. If the deadline does pass and the NHLPA does not decide to file, the power shifts back into the hands of the NHL, as the power-play time the union has received with the disclaimer hanging out there will have expired.
From now until Wednesday, the NHL and NHLPA will have some keys topics to discuss. Chief among these topics is the length of the collective bargaining agreement, the acceptable length of player contracts, the proposed salary cap and how the two sides will handle the proposed buyouts.
According to ESPN.com, the NHL has offered a 10-year deal with a mutual opt-out after eight years. The salary cap will remain at $70.2 million for 2013, but it will drop to $60 million for 2013-14 and all teams will be required to be in compliance. The league has also included a “compliance buyout option” that will allow each team to buy out one contract without it counting against their cap number.
The newest proposal shows some movement on the NHL side of things. The question is: Will there be room for more movement?
Odds are that NHLPA head Donald Fehr is going to look to get as much as he can from the NHL. Hopefully, he will be able to extract enough from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and company before he needs to decide on filing the disclaimer of interest.