Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Critical day in CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: October 18, 2012 - 10:34 AM

You know how during the hockey season, players say, “this is the biggest game of the year,” until the next game is the biggest of the year.

We’re at that point in collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA.
 
On Tuesday, I said it was the most critical meeting of the process. It was.
 
Now, today’s is. It’s expected that today at noon CT, the NHLPA will tender a counterproposal to the NHL’s proposal Tuesday. At the session, besides the NHL/NHLPA's Big Four and certainly some players will be the four owners on the league's negotiating committee -- Boston, Washington, Calgary ... and Wild owner Craig Leipold.
 
This is simple: If the counterproposal is an actual counterproposal to Tuesday’s league-issued offer, we’ve got traction. If NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr came up with another “alternative proposal” like he did in August, well, then both sides are still on alternate universes and it is very doubtful any sort of CBA momentum can be created in order to strike a deal by the league’s Oct. 25 deadline to begin camp Oct. 26 and get in a full season starting Nov. 2.
 
So, stay tuned. But obviously, judging by Fehr’s letter to the players Tuesday night, which can be read here courtesy of ESPN.com, the union was not fond of the league’s proposal. So not shockingly, all that enthusiasm the league created Tuesday was essentially curbed by Wednesday morning.
 
I'll be interested to see what Fehr offers because it will go a long way toward displaying what his true intentions are and have been through this whole process.
 
Keep your fingers crossed.

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