Bettman: NHLPA Response "Nowhere Close" To What League Presented Tuesday

Mike Stobe

The NHLPA made three different counter-proposals Thursday afternoon - And Gary Bettman called them all a "step backward."

The NHLPA didn't just respond to the league's new 50/50 HRR proposal made Tuesday - They responded three times with three separate counter-offers Thursday afternoon in Toronto.

The league rejected them all.

Gary Bettman told media in Toronto Thursday afternoon that the players response to the league's offer was "nowhere close" to what they presented on Tuesday. The meeting lasted just one hour because, as the Commissioner said, "there was really nothing there."

The players continued what has been their modus operandi in this process of responding to the league's proposal with one that uses different framework and "language," to use Bettman's word. Fehr and company presented three different proposals to the league in an attempt to continue negotiations. Bettman called all of them a step backward. None of them, reportedly, used the league's latest offer as a true blueprint.

Leaks from the players side suggested that all three proposals included a 50/50 HRR split, like the league proposed. Bettman told media afterward, however, that none of them came even close to a 50/50 split, and that one even proposed the players share increase in year one before going down.

After one side presents a counter-offer the next step would seemingly be for the first side (the league) to respond in kind with movement toward the center. Bettman gave no indication that the league would be countering any of the players' three proposals today.

He added that they'd be cancelling more games soon, and that the cancellation of the Winter Classic was rapidly approaching.

Bettman gave no indication that the league would respond to any of the PA's three offers, shattering any optimism that may have existed. The hope was that after today talks and counter-offers would continue in the very immediate future. There's been no indication of anything of the sort.

Like Bettman said, we wish we had better news, but it appears that today the news is wholly the bad variety.

There is still technically time, and some think the PA will even make another proposal before the league responds, if it does, after gauging the owner's reactions today.

Don Fehr is next up and we'll have more reaction later as we're able.

The bottom line for now is that both sides, as has been the case from the very beginning, refuse to use the other's proposal as a context for their own responses. Both sides want to be the one to craft the framework of the deal. If a deal is going to get done, that pride will eventually have to be swallowed by someone.

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