NHL asks for full CBA proposal from players association

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2012 

The NHL made the request. Now, it’s up to the NHL Players Association to comply – or not comply.

After a collective bargaining session Monday night in New York, the NHL asked that the NHLPA make a full, complete CBA proposal covering such issues as revenue division and contracting rights. After taking Tuesday to hold internal meetings, the NHLPA is expected to respond Wednesday morning.

“We’ve never heard a full proposal from them,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters Monday night. “Certainly they’ve given us a variation of the same proposal on economics a couple times, and there was no change in that position. ...

“They’re still suggesting that they’re moving in our direction on economics, but until we know exactly what their position is on economics now, we think it’s all tied together, and we’d like to hear it all together.”

The NHLPA requested the meeting Monday and Daly said the union set the agenda. There were media reports late last week that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wanted a two-week moratorium in CBA talks – an assertion Daly later disputed – but the two sides met Monday for 90 minutes.

“We could have taken a couple of weeks off, I suppose,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said Monday. “It’s hard for me to see how you make an agreement if you aren’t talking. So you talk.”

What everyone is hoping for is a breakthrough in the talks that lead to a new collective bargaining agreement. Tuesday was the 66th day of the of the NHL lockout and without any progress this week, the league soon could begin cancelling December games.

The NHL already has axed all games through the end of November and the 2013 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The next casualty could be the 2013 NHL All-Star game, set for Columbus, Ohio.

The NHLPA has said the league refuses to budge on its contracting proposals. The league, in turn, has said the players want a guaranteed share of league revenue.

“If their proposal continues to be a guaranteed amount of player-share dollars, we have told them that is not a proposal that is acceptable to us or would ever to be acceptable to our owners right now,” Daly said.

The players received 57 percent of the annual hockey-related revenue (HRR) last season under the previous CBA, which expired Sept. 15. The league wants an immediate move to a 50-50 split of HRR, offering to “make whole” existing player contracts through deferred payments. The NHL also has proposed spending $211 million out if its HRR share to help fund the payments.

The union has proposed a gradual reduction to the 50-50 mark during the course of the CBA. It has opposed the league’s stance on such contracting issues as a five-year limit on contracts, shorter entry-level contracts and a change in unrestricted free agency eligibility.

Still to be decided is how to handle the games cancelled this season and revenue that will be lost.

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