NHL counter-proposal today was six years in length: offered to start players' share at 49 percent and end it at 47 percent at end of term— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 12, 2012
Gary Bettman:"we made a proposal and told the players that it will be off the table on the 15th if there is no deal.— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) September 12, 2012
The NHLPA made a last minute counter-proposal today that was once again deemed "unacceptable" by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking on behalf of the league's 30 owners. The NHL then countered with what is being described by media as a significant offer, but does it amount to more of the same?
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun now reports that the league's proposal would start the players share at 49% this season and reduce it to 47% by the time the six year deal is over. The league has described their proposal as not requiring cutbacks of salaries, and that the players would instead pay more into escrow.
For the first time the league said they would not seek to redefine HRR (hockey related revenue), but will still reportedly take the players from 57% to 47%, ultimately representing a 17.5% reduction in player salaries.
Negotiation is possible on that offer until Saturday, when Bettman said it would be taken completely off the table.
Continued after the jump...
Earlier Today on DBD: 2012 NHL Lockout: How The Prisoner's Dilemma Applies To CBA Negotiations
This is a surprising bit of movement today, but the next 48 hours will tell if it amounts to anything.
The players have held tight to their belief that they should not have to accept a permanent rollback in their share of the pie, offering to give up a share of future growth of the league but not give back anything on contracts already signed by both parties.
The league's apparent concessions today are dollars merely given back from previous offers deemed by most to be bordering on ridiculous. The players would still be required to give back over 17% of their current deals through escrow payments starting at nearly 10% next season. Players paid in the neighborhood of eight percent recently, but got some of it back. The implication is that they'd not get any of their "escrow" back moving forward in order to fund the overall reduction of HRR percentage.
Still, the league did offer something without changing the definition of HRR, and that is significant, but it's almost certainly what Bettman is referring to when he says "the offer will be taken completely off the table" if it's not accepted. A lengthy lockout will surely bring about the re(re)-definition of HRR to the players' detriment.
Some are calling it a "scare tactic" unlikely to work. It depends on if the league is willing to bend on these percentages. If they players are able to counter and say "We'll start at 52% and end at 50%" (rather than start at 49 and end at 47) then there could meaningful discussion in the coming days. If the league is dead set on getting the players under 50% then that way contention lies.
Both sides were loathe to discuss anything detail oriented, so it could be that there are "non starters" in this latest round for both sides, grid-locking things as much as they have been or worse. We'll find out in the coming days.
The league's proposal was again for six years, where the players have made it known they prefer a term of four at the maximum.
Secondary issues (free agency, contract length, etc) continue to be put on "the back burner" until core economic issues are agreed upon.
Should the lockout take effect Saturday at midnight the NHLPA has indicated that it will take legal action in Quebec (MTL) and possible Alberta (CGY, EDM) where locking out the union may not be in accordance with those provincial laws. If successful the NHLPA would ensure that players on those teams would get paid, and would gain access to team facilities.
Bettman wasn't impressed with those threats...
No formal talks have been scheduled moving forward. Both sides will study what was put forth today and last ditch efforts could be made as early as tomorrow in anticipation of the Saturday expiration of the current CBA.