Sep 12, 2012 / 5:00 pm
The final push to get a new NHL collective bargaining agreement is on.
After almost two weeks without face-to-face negotiations, labour talks between the league and NHL Players' Association resumed with a flurry of activity Wednesday.
Both sides tabled a proposal in an attempt to avoid another work stoppage. The current deal is set to expire just before midnight on Saturday and the owners have said they'll enact another lockout if a new agreement isn't reached beforehand.
The NHLPA's initial offer was countered with one by the league that will see the players get 49 per cent of revenue in the first year and scale back to 47 per cent over the course of the six-year deal, according to a source. That's up from a starting point of 46 per cent in the NHL's last offer, but still well down from the 57 per cent players saw last season.
Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league will withdraw its offer if its not accepted by the time the current labour agreement ends.
"With every day we're experiencing -- and will continue to experience -- damage to the game and to the business of the game," said Bettman. "What we're trying to do now is stem that damage. What we would be prepared to do now to make a deal before there's extensive damage is not the same that we'll be prepared to do in the event we get to a point where we've suffered the damage."
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said the union's proposal was "consistent" with its previous offer.
"Our proposal was made with the same principles that we have always had in mind, and those are that we didn't see any reason, given seven years of record revenue growth and the enormous concessions the players made the last time, to have an absolute reduction in salaries," he said, adding the players would be willing to have their share "fall over time" as league revenues grow.
Fehr added he doesn't "know whether this will lead to anything."
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