Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA will continue on Wednesday, even as players pensions become an issue once again.
[Update] The NHL and NHLPA met briefly this afternoon where the union passed over it's counter to the NHL's proposal from last night. What is essentially happening right now is the two sides are working off the same proposal, but tweaking it a bit each time they pass it across the table. This is what negotiating looks like.
A couple of sticking points remain, no matter how close to a deal they may be. For one, the who assumes the majority of the risk with the pensions continues to be an issue, as it seems the NHL pulled back a bit from where the two sides had agreed to be a few weeks back. There is also the problem of figuring out the cap hit the 2013-14 season.
Apparently the players have agreed to a 10 year CBA term, as well as the six-year limits on new UFA contracts.
The NHL will be responding, at some point. Perhaps tonight. [End Update]
Just a quick update here as the CBA talks continue on Wednesday...
Not much information is leaking right now about the proposals and counter-proposals being pushed back and forth across the table, which can certainly only be seen as a good thing. Gary Bettman stated on Tuesday night, after a brief meeting in which the NHL's counter-proposal was given, that the league had moved on some issues and had to say 'no' to others.
"They did make a comprehensive response to what we gave them," players' association executive director Donald Fehr said. "We asked a couple of questions. Now what we have to do is go through the document, try to make some sense out of it, compare it and see what the appropriate thing is to do next."
The players' response is expected sometime on Wednesday, although when a formal meeting will take place is not known. There was a brief meeting this morning, however, to discuss player pensions -- which have suddenly become a hiccup in the proceedings once more. The NHLPA had thought they had the player pension issue locked up a few weeks ago but, apparently, a change was made in one of the proposals that brought the topic up once more.
It's obvious that the two sides are very close to getting a deal done, although the threat of disclaimer still looms over the day. If a deal is indeed close to being made, expect the day to pass without the legal disclaimer of interest being made. If things break down, which could happen over this pension issue, then expect the NHLPA to move forward with the disclaimer as a last resort measure.
If the NHLPA does not disclaim interest on Wednesday, by midnight, then the union must vote once more to allow it to happen.
It's not known exactly what movement has been made on the biggest issues at hand, most notably the proposed $60 million cap proposed by the league. The players had requested a $67.5 million cap next season for 2013-14 and it's likely that the final number will lie somewhere in the middle -- too many teams are already flirting with disaster with a $60 million cap.
There's also the reported fact that the two sides have discussed the addition of four teams to the playoffs, but we'll discuss that later.
For now, be glad that the two sides are actually negotiating. It certainly looks like we're going to have a 48 game season that starts around Jan. 19, although things can still fall apart pretty quickly.