NHL lockout 2012: No progress made; NHLPA steps up rhetoric

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The NHL summarily dismissed the NHLPA's offer on Wednesday, stating that it was not enough to get a deal done. The lockout continues.

The NHLPA presented a comprehensive proposal to the NHL on Wednesday morning, a proposal that was then summarily dismissed by Gary Bettman and the NHL as not conceding enough toward middle ground for the league's liking.

The union's proposal was significant, as it termed revenue sharing as a percentage tied to league revenues, instead of a guaranteed dollar amount, a concession that was supposed to get the league and the players finally on the same page in negotiations.

After the proposal was submitted to the league, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and the players turned to media and Twitter to launch an all-out rhetorical attack; the full details of the proposal were also made available to the media. It was clear that the players were intent on making it known that this proposal by the union was a major step to the middle towards the league, a bid to make the NHL once again the "bad guys" if the proposal was dismissed.

While the NHLPA's proposal did include a concession to using percentages in regards to revenue sharing, the NHLPA also called for a major increase over the league's proposed $211 million "make whole" provision. The proposal would have the NHL pay a guaranteed amount in the first four years of the five-year term:

2012-13: $182 million
2013-14: $128 million
2014-15: $72 million
2015-16: $11 million

Total: $393 million.

Donald Fehr stated that this distance, between the NHLPA proposed "make whole" provision and the league's, was where the true divide between the two sides lie. This essentially would mean that the difference between the league and the players would amount to just over $1 million per team per year of the deal.

Unfortunately, the league was not quite so thrilled other provisions in the NHLPA's proposal. A term limit of just five years, the NHLPA's decision to not concede on any of the player contract issues (while offering an alternative solution to back diving contracts) while also stating that the players' share would not decrease from year to year -- effectively de-linking players' percentage from overall revenues -- were all major problems the league likely stated to the NHLPA.

Ironically, one of the biggest fights over the new CBA has to do with what to do with the 2012-13 season and who should take the majority of financial burden for the lockout. The players feel that, since the NHL locked out the players, then the league should bear the brunt of the pain once the season returns. Hence the jump to $182 million in the first year of the CBA in the "make whole" provision.

Gary Bettman feels otherwise, stating after the meeting that, "It is unrealistic that owners will pay disproportionate share of revenue lost due to a lockout in year one."

As of now, there are no plans in place for future meetings. The NHLPA has stated that this is not a "take it or leave it" offer and that this is something that can be negotiated off of while the league has stated that a better deal, financially, will not be available to the players.

The NHL is waiting to hear from the union to discuss plans for possible meetings in the near future.

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