Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
The NHL and NHLPA continue to meet on Thursday as a deal appears to be within sight, although several large hurdles remain including the threat of another vote on a NHLPA disclaimer of interest.
A quick lunchtime update as the NHL and NHLPA appear headed to a conclusion here in the next few days, although I think we all realize that things could quickly fall to pieces with these two sides. For the most part, however, most agree that a deal is within sight and that the players in particular are pushing hard to get a deal done soon.
Proof of that is the fact that the NHLPA did not file to disclaim interest on Wednesday night, a threat that had been looming over proceedings but apparently never came up in the negotiations. The negotiations this week have also featured the involvement of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who seems focused on getting this deal come to an agreement sooner than later.
It seems that some sort of decision will almost certainly come within the next 48 hours or so, as the NHLPA is making it known that it will once again seek approval to disclaim interest if a deal is not reached by tonight. This likely the union trying to gain back some control and circumvent the NHL's Jan. 11 deadline with one of their own.
Vote to authorize disclaimer will happen swiftly, within 48 hrs, however when to start hasn't been determined nor has deadline of decision.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 3, 2013
There have been more than a few reports stating that the players involved in talks right now are focused on getting a deal done as soon as possible, although as we head into Thursday's meetings it seems that tensions are once again high. There is a very significant level of distrust between the two sides and it seems the players are once again upset with the belief that the NHL is attempting to "hide" money in HRR. So once again, something that seemed to have been agreed upon is once again an issue.
The big news of the night was that the NHL has agreed to two compliance buyouts per team following the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season. Previously the NHL had not wanted any buyouts, then had agreed to one. The big concession on this from the players' side is that the buyouts would not count against the cap but would count against HRR -- something the NHLPA is apparently none too fond of.
This all ties into the proposed $60 million cap for the 2013-2014 season, with the players apparently now proposing a $65 million cap. The NHL is apparently holding steadfast to the $60 million figure, however, and moved on the buyouts to attempt to make the transition a bit easier for players and some teams. These specifics will almost certainly change around a bit by the time a final deal is reached.
There is also the player pension fund also remains an issue that needs to be resolved, as well as term on contracts. This is on top of a number of smaller issues that still need to be agreed to.
This has been a long, painful journey but it seems as if we're finally reaching the finish line. Unfortunately, these last few miles make take the longest to traverse. The two sides are arguing over some very minuscule details but those details will be the hardest to work out.