NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman couldn't understand during the Stanley Cup Finals why there was such pessimism by many in the hockey media that next season would start on time.

Well, this is why.

According to RDS Insider Renaud Lavoie's Twitter account, the NHL made its initial proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement to the NHLPA in Toronto today:

NHL proposal to players: 1-reduce players hockey related revenues to 46% from 57 %. 2-10 seasons in NHL before being UFA.

3-contracts limites to 5 years 4-no more salary arbitration. 5- entry-level contract 5 years instead of 3.

To Clarify the initial proposal:

1. Right now it's 57-43 in favor of the players. Owners want it to be 54-46 in favor of the owners

2. In the last CBA negotiations during the 2004-05 season elimination, the NHL agreed to accelerating unrestricted free agency from 10 years to age 27 (or 7 years).

3. There are currently no contract limits, which Wild fans learned last week when Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were given 13-year deals by Minnesota.

4. There's currently player elected and club elected arbitration

5. Is self-explanatory above.

Later, the New York Post's Larry Brooks reported that in the proposal, the salary-cap ceiling would be $4 million above the midpoint and the floor $8 million below. Brooks also reported the proposal would eliminate signing bonuses (Parise and Suter each get $25 million in the first three years of their $98 million contract) and would mandate the same salary during each season of the max 5-year deal.

Obviously, this is an initial proposal. But, the owners are shooting for the stars and many of us who reported during the lost season in 2004-05 immediately responded with doom and gloom tweets.

It's safe to say today's meeting wasn't as cordial as the others.

It's important not to overreact to an initial proposal in a CBA negotiating process, but the fight has officially begun with the players and their head honcho, Donald Fehr. And at the very least, you know this thing will go right up until the Sept. 15 expiration of the current CBA. If you didn't think a another lockout was truly possible, seeing the initial proposal spelled out like it was tonight probably has you re-thinking your position.

Buckle up, folks.

I'm out of here for a few weeks starting tomorrow. Kent Youngblood will be blogging and tweeting (@bloodstrib) from Sunday morning's 11 o'clock prospects scrimmage at the X.

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