Latest NHL offer creates optimism

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 17, 2012 - 9:28 AM

Looking to save a full season, NHL owners are willing to split hockey-related revenues evenly.

In the most significant development since the NHL lockout began last month, the league issued a proposal Tuesday in Toronto that is designed to preserve a full 82-game season for each team if a collective bargaining agreement can be reached by Oct. 25.

The league proposed a six-year agreement with an option for a seventh that would split hockey-related revenues with the players down the middle provided the season can begin Nov. 2 after a one-week training camp.

A huge stumbling block has been the unwillingness by players to take pay cuts. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he believes the proposal addresses that concern.

"We have about nine or 10 days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward," Bettman said. "We hope that this effort that we've undertaken today would be successful because we know how difficult this all has been for everybody associated with the game, particularly our fans."

Donald Fehr, the NHL Players' Association executive director, took the NHL proposal and assembled his staff Tuesday with the intent of reading it, digesting it and fully understanding it.

The union wanted to crunch numbers before an afternoon conference call with its executive board and negotiating committee.

"Our hope is that after we review this that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this is a proposal from which we can negotiate and try to reach a conclusion," Fehr said. "I would like to believe that after we're done [reviewing the proposal] that it will be an excellent starting point and we can go forward and see if there's a deal to be made."

Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly returned to New York to await word from the union when negotiations can proceed. It's expected to be Thursday.

Among players, there was cautious optimism that talks will now heat up.

"It's the first good news we've heard in a while," Wild veteran Matt Cullen said. "It seems closer to where we want to be. We have to see the details, but I don't think there's any question this is a positive move that hopefully we can build off."

Wild forward Zach Parise echoed Cullen, saying: "That's what everyone's hoping -- players fans, everyone -- that this is a starting point. That's my initial hope. When we found out on the ice that they made a proposal this morning, it was like, 'Let's get this thing going.'

"We'll see the next few days. I hope this leads to serious negotiations."

Without providing details, Bettman said there is no salary rollback. Players received 57 percent of the $3.3 billion in revenue last season. Under the NHL's proposal Tuesday, salaries would reduce by 12 percent in an effort to get to the 50-50 split. However, that money would be deferred and reimbursed to players over the length of their contracts, according to an NHL source.

So if a player on a 10-year deal had his salary cut by $1 million, he would receive $100,000 a year over 10 years.

Other details of the proposal include raising free agency from 27 years old or seven years of service to 28 or eight years of service (the league proposed 30 years old or 10 years in July); keeping arbitration (the league originally proposed to abolish it); lowering entry-level contract lengths from three years to two (the league originally wanted five); and having five-year maximum contracts, which the union will surely want to negotiate.

Earlier this month, the NHL postponed the Oct. 11-24 portion of the schedule (82 games overall, including five Wild games). With Tuesday's proposal, it would also postpone the Oct. 25-Nov. 1 games.

However, by starting Nov. 2, a full 82-game season can be played by adding one game every five weeks and extending the season by 10-14 days, sources say.

A Nov. 2 start date means the first nine Wild games would be rescheduled and the Wild may have to start the season on a six-game road trip beginning Nov. 3 at Tampa Bay. The way the schedule currently stands, a Nov. 2 start date puts 15 of the Wild's first 19 games on the road.

More than 150 players are scattered in leagues across Europe. Wild captain Mikko Koivu is supposed to leave for Turku, Finland, on Friday. That could change now.

"I've been looking for a way to get these negotiations jump-started, and if this does it, that'll be great," Fehr said. "We'll see, though."

  • related content

  • Chart: Inside the NHL proposal

    Tuesday October 16, 2012

    2. NHL says no "salary rollback." Instead, sources say, initial 12 percent pay cuts would be deferred and reimbursed to players over course of their contracts.

  • NHL releases details of contract proposal

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    The NHL provided details today about yesterday's proposal

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, foreground, arrives with deputy commiss...

  • NHL LOCKOUT

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 34 2nd Qtr 3:01
Cleveland 53
LA Lakers 42 2nd Qtr 3:35
Charlotte 40
Sacramento 44 2nd Qtr 8:45
New York 27
Houston 23 1st Qtr 4:37
Atlanta 17
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Washington 7:00 PM
Chicago
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Denver
Nashville 0 2nd Prd
New Jersey 1
Calgary 1 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 0
Washington 2 2nd Prd
Columbus 0
Buffalo 0 1st Prd 12:17
Tampa Bay 0
Toronto 0 1st Prd 11:03
Florida 0
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Minnesota
NY Islanders 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 8:30 PM
Edmonton
San Jose 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ole Miss 27 2nd Half
Alabama 30
Eastern Mich 35 2nd Half
Ball State 24
Kent State 41 2nd Half
Bowling Green 36
Ohio 29 2nd Half
Buffalo 41
Georgetown 30 2nd Half
Butler 24
Toledo 37 2nd Half
Central Mich 36
Rhode Island 28 2nd Half
Dayton 36
Youngstown St 37 2nd Half
Detroit 31
North Carolina 39 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 21
Loyola-Maryland 20 2nd Half
Holy Cross 32
Iowa 30 1st Half 1:00
Indiana 26
Akron 23 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 17
Army 26 2nd Half
Navy 24
Maryland 31 2nd Half
Rutgers 23
Kennesaw St 17 1st Half 0:30
USC Upstate 42
Jacksonville 34 2nd Half
Fla Gulf Coast 38
Lipscomb 37 2nd Half
Northern Ky 38
Stetson 14 1st Half 10:33
North Florida 23
Wright State 7:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
Western Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Houston Baptist 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
NC State 8:00 PM
Clemson
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Florida
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Georgia
West Virginia 8:00 PM
Kansas
Auburn 8:00 PM
Missouri
Michigan 8:00 PM
Northwestern
Villanova 8:15 PM
Creighton
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 23 2nd Half
UMass Lowell 34
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Kansas State
TCU 7:00 PM
Texas
Fresno State 8:00 PM
Air Force
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 8:00 PM
Colorado State
UNLV 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close