NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr met with the media a second time Wednesday to discuss the NHL's proposal from earlier in the day. The response was not very optimistic, despite hope that the two sides has finally found some common ground on which to work.
The NHL's proposal called for the players to take an immediate cut in revenue shares from 57 percent to 48 percent, which would then roll down to 47 percent over the next six years. While player revenue shares would decrease, the overall amount of player salaries would, in theory, increase along with the growth of the NHL. What had created some optimism was the fact that the NHL had decided to keep the current definition of "Hockey Related Revenue" as part of the proposal, a major concession on the part of the league.
The concession was not enough, according to Fehr.
"They've moved from an extraordinarily large to a big amount," Fehr said to the media on Wednesday.
The NHLPA is unwilling to make any concessions on the current percentage of revenue sharing as long as the league is not addressing the long-term health of the NHL itself. There is currently a large disparity between the richest clubs on top of the league and those that exist at the bottom and in the players' eyes. The NHL wants the NHLPA to take up the burden of making up that revenue disparity through salary rollbacks.
Don Fehr: "Big market clubs must do their part, so far that's not the case."— Allan Walsh (@walsha) September 12, 2012
What is abundantly clear at this point is that both sides are unwilling to budge from their separate proposals. The NHLPA refuses any sort of immediate rollbacks in salaries, while the NHL is asking for a 17.5 percent rollback, both through revenue sharing percentages and a higher escrow percentage.
Three days remain before the lockout begins and, even with the major concession on the definition of HRR, it seems that neither side is prepared to find a significant middle ground to further negotiations.
There are no further talks scheduled between the two sides at this time.
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