A delegation from the NHL Players' Assn. delivered another proposal to the league during a meeting Wednesday at the NHL's Manhattan offices. The session broke up after about an hour to allow NHL executives to analyze the latest move in what has suddenly become a hectic give-and-take process. Spokesmen for both sides said it's possible they will meet again Wednesday night in New York.
Working against the NHL’s deadline of reaching an agreement in time to open training camps by Jan. 12 and launching a 48-game schedule by Jan. 19 or face the cancellation of the entire season, the sides have exchanged several proposals in the last few days and appear to be engaged in actual negotiating instead of posturing. Each side has moved toward the other’s stance on some key issues, but they have encountered some sticking points that are proving difficult to resolve.
Among the most contentious issues are the league’s insistence on a $60-million salary cap in 2013-14, which would be problematic for teams that have long-term agreements with many players; the union’s opposition to a cap on players’ escrow payments; and the method of funding of players’ pension plans.
It’s believed that the NHLPA has said it will accept the NHL’s proposed 10-year term for the new labor agreement (with an out clause after eight years) if it can get concessions in other areas, though it’s not clear where those concessions might come. The NHLPA had previously opposed a 10-year term because it didn’t want to be trapped in case the deal doesn’t work in its members’ interest.