The NHL and NHLPA met today to discuss the NHL's newest CBA offer. What exactly is in the proposed NHL CBA, you might ask? Things such as the players' share being cut down to 50% from 57%, a contract cap at five years and a revenue sharing pool coming from the top 10 teams and going to the other 20. Obviously, the big sticking point is going to be the decrease in salaries. The players would like the league to honor the contracts that they had signed prior to the end of the current CBA, but the decrease in revenue as well as a salary cap of just $59.9 million makes the league doing so fully very unlikely.
The NHLPA submitted three separate proposals today in a meeting with the NHL that lasted just an hour. Why an hour? "We were done in an hour today because there was really nothing there," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, according to TSN. What does Bettman define as "nothing there?" Well, in these three offers, the players formulated ways to get to the 50/50 benchmark. One offer suggested a gradual decrease over five years, and one over three. The third offer said that the players would be willing to go straight to 50/50 if the NHL pledged to honor their contracts.
The owners dismissed the players' offers and Bettman said that their last offer was about as good as it would get for the players. He also said that he was "very discouraged" with the day's talks.
If having a group offer to get to your main goal, albeit in a different way, is discouraging, then I don't see this season starting any time soon. The players are obviously willing to make concessions to accommodate the NHL but the league refuses to accept it. It makes one wonder if the last CBA proposal was nothing more than a PR play with people; a chance to say "well, we tried, but they're being bullheaded." Hopefully people are realizing that neither group are perfect angels, but the league was in a position today to accept something that would facilitate getting an 82 game season on the calendar, and did not.