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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NHLPA to determine next step in negotiations

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: November 9, 2012 - 10:49 PM

After hoping for a few days that no news is good news and "at least they're not storming off in a huff and a puff," and "at least they keep meeting" despite slow progress, it became abundantly clear tonight: this lockout's far from being over.

Despite four days of talks after the NHL and NHLPA's No. 2's met for several hours last Saturday, the NHL and NHLPA still remain a good distance apart on a new collective bargaining agreement.

I've been saying on the radio all week that I suspected we'd still have a couple more blow ups and soap operas and emotional roller coasters during this process, so let's hope this is just one minor blip before the two sides eventually reconvene for the good of the game. After all, there's just too much to lose. As I wrote last Sunday, it's a math equation now.

But today? Today did not go well. Other than league lawyers meeting in pension subcommittee's with union lawyers, the actual NHL and NHLPA meeting didn't begin until close to 4 p.m. ET. It was over in about 90 minutes, and little of that was face to face. Much was caucusing.

According to ESPN's Katie Strang on a tweet, "the meeting ended with some tense exchanges between the two sides."

After the meeting, NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr held a conference call with the negotiating committee and executive board to provide an update. Other players are invited on those calls, too, and reportedly, players are getting very frustrated with the league.

Afterward, Fehr told reporters during a subsequent press scrum that the union will meet internally Saturday morning and determine the next step. He did say he assumed the union would be in touch with the league, but he never said if that would be to schedule the next session. The league says it's willing to get back at the table at any time.

“We’ll come to grips with where we are and try and figure out what to do next,” Fehr told reporters in New York (thanks to Canadian Press' Chris Johnston for sending me audio of Fehr's gathering). “I don’t know what will happen next.”
Friday’s breakup came after the NHL proposed a 50/50 split in revenues with the players this week, multiple sources say. In addition, the league spelled out its "Make Whole" provision, which many feel would be the type of breakthrough that could lead toward the eventual end of the lockout.
But the union still feels it comes well short than making the contracts "whole," although Fehr did say tonight that the union told the league they felt "were much closer together on a structure of a deal than suggestions were."
The NHL's definition of its "make whole" provision is to insure that players will continue to make at least 57 percent of $3.3 billion, or $1.883 billion. To do that, players would have their 12.3 percent salary reductions deferred for a maximum of three years, sources say.
The league would subsidize the players $150 million the first year and $61 million the second year, plus 2 percent interest. By Year 3, the players would be “made whole” as long as revenues grow 5 percent, said sources.
The league says it will guarantee this $211 million if revenues don't rise back up.
Still, players want to be paid in full every cent agreed to in good faith with owners and Fehr said Friday night they aren't "receiving the full value of their contracts.” That's still more than $350 million, player sources say.
Until this issue is reconciled, this thing's in trouble, and the longer they're not playing, the more revenues drop and the harder the math becomes. Also, players feel owners are standing firm on all their contractual changes like free agency to 28, five-year max contracts, contract variances of 5 percent, etc.
Word of the NHL proposal trickled out because the NHL didn’t feel Fehr portrayed its 50/50 proposal fully in a Thursday night memo sent to 725 players. That memo was leaked to the media Friday and thus got back to the league and its owners.
In the memo, Fehr didn’t provide details of the league’s “Make Whole” 50/50 offer, said a “significant gap remains,” said revenue sharing “needs considerable work,” and that the NHL’s proposed contractual changes “must be agreed to.”
Fehr said Friday night that in memos, you “necessarily have to summarize,” and that he’s routinely transparent with his constituents. All players are invited to any bargaining session on the union’s dime, and dozens have sat in on these meetings with the league, including this week.
Players have raved throughout the lockout that Fehr keeps them constantly informed and jumped to his defense tonight.
My blog below just stated that the memo didn't portray their proposal fully, so word was getting out about what their proposal was.
It was also reported on Twitter by the New York Post that the union was seeking full 2012-13 salaries even in a shortened season and regardless of league revenues. I was led to believe this, too, and remember again, revenues will surely fall due to the lockout.
The Post also added that in addition, they wanted 5 percent growth or more than $1.9 billion, and this would eat 65-67 percent of league revenue during a shortened season.
However, Fehr said tonight that the union was trying to put a structure in place with the NHL before “dealing with the effects of the lockout.”
Games have been canceled through Nov. 30, meaning there is still time to reach a deal and start by Dec. 1. But the clock is ticking, damage to revenues and the league’s reputation is being done, and as both Commissioner Gary Bettman and Fehr said, “There’s still a lot of work to do.”


Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 81 4th Qtr
Sacramento 81
Oklahoma City 63 3rd Qtr
Golden State 65
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 3 2nd Prd 12:23
Los Angeles 2
Edmonton 3 2nd Prd 6:36
San Jose 2
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 31 2nd Half 4:55
Idaho 75
DePaul 51 2nd Half 5:41
Oregon State 78
Nevada 46 2nd Half 7:55
Pacific 49
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 32 2nd Half 10:59
Utah State 37
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
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