It's been weeks since either side in NHL labor talks has made significant movement, but the league did just that in talks Tuesday morning, offering a 50/50 percent split in hockey-related revenue and no rollback in the face dollar value on existing player contracts.
Gary Bettman announced the plan after talks at the NHLPA's headquarters in Toronto, according to the Canadian Press and others, saying that it's the league's last-ditch effort to save an 82-game NHL season. Bettman said that if the season begins no later than Nov. 2, the 82-game schedule could still be played.
It's not exactly a slam-dunk offer, even if it may seem that way at face value. The current revenue split is 57 percent in favor of the players, and with an immediate decrease to a 50/50 split, players will have to lose money somehow, whether it's immediate or it's phased in over time or it's taken out of future league growth. Reports indicate that current contracts will be protected under the new proposal, and that the existing definition of HRR is preserved. That's all good news, but it's yet to be seen how escrow will be impacted under the new proposal.
Donald Fehr didn't give much detail on the offer from the NHLPA's perspective, saying that they still need to wade through the details before stating publicly their feelings on the proposal. According to TSN, the union has called a 5 p.m. conference call with their executive board and their negotiating committee. Fehr did say that the new agreement would be at least six years in length.
At the very least, it is progress. It's meaningful movement, and it give the players' union a position to bargain from.