Things continue to be heading in the direction of a lockout by the NHL owners as negotiations broke today between the two sides.
Here is the story from tsn.ca
NEW YORK — Don Fehr says that collective bargaining talks with the league are “recessed.”
The executive director of the NHL Players’ Association said the NHL requested the hiatus after the union presented its latest proposal.
The union attempted to get an agreement on the fourth year of its initial offer, but Fehr said the league was unwilling to do that. The union’s initial deal included a lower share of revenue for players over the first three years of the offer and a return to the current level of 57 per cent in the fourth.
“We proposed several concepts for the fourth year that would allow the fourth year to be something less than 57 per cent of revenues,” Fehr said. “The suggestion was that if we could get over the fourth year and their objection to the 57-per-cent snapback that would give us an opportunity to move forward.
“Unfortunately, so far at least, that proposal we made today did not bear fruit.”
League commissioner Gary Bettman said the suggestions put forth by the Players’ Association didn’t adequately address the fourth-year stumbling block.
“In the final analysis the emphasis was on returning back to 57 per cent in the fourth year, which obviously isn’t acceptable,” he said.
The NHLPA plans to remain in New York for the next two weeks and will be willing to restart negotiations whenever the league is ready.
However, Fehr said either side could restart talks and the he expected neither “would stand on ceremony.”
The NHLPA’s latest offer came three days after the NHL made its first counter-proposal. After asking the players to cut their share of hockey revenue from 57 to 43 per cent, the NHL upped its proposal to have the players get a 46 per cent share over a six-year deal.
Bettman said the players’ offer wasn’t a proper counter-proposal to the offer the league tabled earlier this week, and said the union was not adequately addressing the economic issues facing the business.
“What I thought was starting as a promising week after we made our substantial counter-proposal on Tuesday, ends I guess you could say in disappointment,” Bettman said. “We did not get a proposal from the union. I call it more of a response.”
Bettman said either side could resume talks if they had something to bring to the table, but said there is nothing forthcoming.
“There’s nothing scheduled because there’s nothing that we’re prepared to say in light of the fact there was really no substantive movement on the economics,” he said.
The CBA expires Sept. 15 and the league has said it will lock out its players if a new agreement isn’t in place by then.
The current CBA was reached after acrimonious negotiations that saw the league lock out players and cancel the entire 2004-05 season. The league won a hard salary cap in that agreement, and Fehr says the league has posted record revenues the past few years.
“Given those to things, the players’ overall feeling is they are not prepared to, and don’t feel it’s appropriate to, see an absolute further reduction in their aggregate salaries,” Fehr said.
The union is also proposing greater revenue sharing to help out less financially sound teams, something Bettman called a “distraction.”
“As we’ve made clear you’ve got to deal with the fundamental economics,” he said. “We don’t believe revenue sharing addresses the issues that need to be addressed.”