NHL Sides Take Step Backward In Negotiations To End

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman  was “thoroughly disappointed” in three counter-proposals from the players’ association on Thursday and left the negotiating table pessimistic about a resolution.No new talks have been scheduled, and the possibility of a full hockey regular season is quickly shrinking.“Today is not a good day,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said.Thursday’s meetings, according to Bettman, were a “step backward,” while Fehr insists the NHL was only willing to work off its offer from Tuesday, rejecting the players’ three counteroffers.The union offered multiple options in response to the NHL’s offer on Tuesday that called for an 82-game season and a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues between owners and players.Said Blues captain David Backes in a text to ESPN.com: “We feel our newest proposal took a great step toward getting a deal done. It’s too bad the owners don’t feel that way and I fear that we may miss an extended amount of time now.”Bettman said that proposal was the “best that we could do” and added that the two sides are still far apart.“None of the three variations of player share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time,” Bettman said.“It’s clear we’re not speaking the same language.”Fehr said two of the union’s proposals would have the players take a fixed amount of revenue, which would turn into an approximate 50-50 split over the term of the deal, provided league revenues continued to grow.The third approach would be a 50-50 split, as long as the league honored all existing contracts at full value.Deputy commissioner Bill Daly contradicted what Fehr said was included in the third proposal, saying in a statement: “The so-called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players’ Association earlier today is being misrepresented. It is not a 50-50 deal. It is, most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement.“The proposal contemplates paying the Players approximately $650 million outside of the Players’ Share. In effect, the Union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say ’50-50,’ when in reality it is not. The Union told us that they had not yet ‘run the numbers.’ We did.”Further, Daly told ESPN.com that in the league’s view, none of the three offers from the NHLPA guarantee ever getting to a 50/50 split.Bettman said he was still hopeful the league can have a full season, but time is running out to make that happen.“I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing,” he said. “To the contrary, I view the proposal made by the players’ association in many ways a step backward.”Bettman said Tuesday the sides would have to reach an agreement by Oct. 25 for a full season to be played.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *