Am told in NHL offer there is a proposal designed to "protect" players for salary reductions in the initial years— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 16, 2012
Labor negotiations between the National Hockey League and it's players association took an interesting turn Tuesday morning when Gary Bettman announced that the owners have made a new proposal on core economic issues, presenting a full 82 game schedule accompanied by an even 50/50 split in HRR revenues if the players accept it quickly.
This proposal comes in a critical week as many feel that a larger chunk of the season beyond the two weeks that were already cancelled is in serious jeopardy without meaningful progress on "core economic issues".
Gary Bettman told media today that though a 50/50 split is part of their proposal, there will be no salary rollback. Media in Toronto is reporting that players current salaries, according to the league, are protected under this latest offer. Protecting existing contracts has been chief among the NHLPA's concerns.
The mechanism to lower the HRR split to 50/50 for the players while protecting their salaries is not known at this time.
This is the first meaningful proposal made by either side since the week leading up to the September 15th lockout. If existing contracts are truly protected in this deal then it puts the ball firmly in the players' court to make a counter-proposal that's close if a full season or close to it is to be saved.
Players have been resistant to lowering their HRR percentage in a single shot, preferring instead to have it taper. That's likely where a point of contention will be moving forward, and the length of the deal, which is reported to be considerable.
Stand by for updates here after Don Fehr and the NHLPA address media in Toronto.