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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NHL sweetens offer to players

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: December 28, 2012 - 1:53 PM

UPDATED

The NHL has tendered a new proposal to the NHLPA that moves closer to the players in certain areas.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly e-mailed the Board of Governors with an update on an offer that includes six-year max contract lengths (up from five, still seven on re-signing your own free agents), max 10% variances in salaries per year (up from 5%) and the willingness to put the $300 million "Make Whole" back onto the table.

Here's a statement from Daly: “In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the Union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late yesterday afternoon. We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the Union's staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.”

As part of the 300-page proposal, the NHL says a deal must be struck by Jan. 11 to start camp Jan. 12 and begin a 48-game season Jan. 19, sources say.

The players are looking for compliance buyouts. The league offer would allow one but would come out of the player share.

As per player requests, arbitration, entry-level contracts and free agency remain largely the same.

It is a 10-year CBA term with an opt-out after eight years.

ESPN.com obtained many of the bullet points here, much of which has been reported before. The lone new nugget is the fact that the league is looking to change the draft lottery to give all non-playoff teams the chance to win the No. 1 pick, not just the five worst teams

The NHLPA has not responded to this very detailed proposal yet, one that is described to me as basically a full CBA tendered.

Right now, no meetings are scheduled, but that is bound to change as both sides look to save the season and begin a 48-game schedule.

As you know, it's been a rollercoaster of emotions all lockout, so don't get your hopes up yet. But are players and owners really willing to risk the future of their careers and this league for the minor details separating the sides now?

Again though, we'll see how the NHLPA reacts to the fine print. I'd suspect a counteroffer, so no doubt there will continue to be ups and downs as we hit crunch time, so don't expect an imminent conclusion.

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