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Harrison: NHL offer a 'step in right direction'

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On a day when the NHL made its CBA proposal public and the NHLPA considered how it will respond to the league Thursday in Toronto, some Canes players seemed to be skating with a little more zip.

The linchpins of the NHL proposal that was made Tuesday in Toronto were the offer of a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue and the offer to "make whole" existing player contracts. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday the proposal was being made in an attempt to start the season by Nov. 2 and salvage the entire 82-game schedule.

"I think it was a meaningful step in the right direction," Canes defenseman Jay Harrison said after a workout at Raleigh Center Ice. "The term I'd like to use is we're cautiously optimistic that this is a step toward real negotiations and some real dialogue.

"We're still as a membership digesting the whole document and what it means, both in the short term and the long term. ... It provides us an opportunity to come to an agreement, as compared to where we were before with the previous (NHL) proposals."

The Canes' Eric Staal said he wished the league had made the proposal much earlier and not in mid-October, a month into a players lockout that's the second of his career.

"It's obviously been a frustrating time, kind of being in limbo and both sides unsure of where we were headed," Staal said. "I think this is something us as an association can take a hard look at ... and hopefully get back to the table and hammer something out so we can get a season in.

"We'll see in the next couple of days how the conversation goes. But it definitely brings you some optimism. It feels more like they're wanting to get a season in, and us as players have been wanting that since the beginning."

The league's first CBA offer, made in July, would have reduced the player' share of HRR from 57 percent to 43 percent. A second offer called for a reduction to 49 percent and gradually to 47 percent over the course of a six-year CBA.

Both proposals were quickly rejected by the NHLPA. It wasn't until Tuesday, with the new CBA offer by the NHL, that any form of real traction in the negotiations appeared to be made.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, in a email letter sent to the membership, spelled out his concerns. Bob McKenzie of TSN reported some of the excerpts today, in which Fehr called the new proposal slightly less "Draconian" as the first two and said it still called for "very large, immediate and continuing concessions" by the players.

The proposal was the first formal offer by either side since the lockout began. Why did the NHL wait this long to put together a proposal broaching the much-discussed 50-50 split and other items that could be more palatable for the players?

"Why didn't they? Because they were trying to wait and see what they could get," Staal said. "I guess that's a part of their negotiating tactic. Don (Fehr) has kind of said that: lockout first and then go from there.

"I think we need to be smart enough to know this is an offer we can hopefully take a look at, study and get to the table and try and hammer out a deal."







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...Bettman rejected the PA counters in 15 minutes.  He had no intention of  ever even considering any such.  It's all 'accept the leagues demands, as is, or nothing!'

The problem with the wonderful offer is that the players would take a 12+% roll-back immediately and the 'make-whole' thing being delayed would have the players getting a smaller portion later -  the players would be paying players to get those current contracts - instead of the teams paying!  Good point in suggesting the TEAMS & OWNERS pay them off later directly with interest.   Fat chance.

Bettman is doing what the hard line owners want, ain't no way he's getting fired.

Fehr is a jackass but the MLB teams had no problems negotiating and working with him.  Fehr ruined baseball? - he might have saved the MLB. There have been no labor problems there since 1994.  In the same time the NHL has had THREE LOCKOUTS under Bettman, Jacobs, Snider, et. al.

Why has the PA been reluctant to make offers?  Because they could expect to be negotiating against themselves.  Remember the 24% roll-back in '04? It was an initial offer by the PA to get things going.  Bettman rejected it and stuck it in his pocket, throwing it back at them at the end, with, "Hey, it was your offer!"

That is good faith negotiating???


Yeah it's the same teams every year pretty much that are serious contenders which is the reason me and all my friends gave up MLB & the NBA = only the major markets have the best chance of winning a ring.

Fehr and Bettman

Fehr and Bettman are showing why they both need to be relieved of their duties.  It's obvious that the solution is 50/50 HRR with teams having to honor existing contracts.  To lessen the financial burden, the teams should be able to pay 10% of the overage beyond 50/50 HRR over three years at 3% interest. It isn't complex.

  Fehr and Bettman are two drama queens arguing over which one should be wearing the crown at the high school prom.

Finally start negotating?

Fehr has the players eating out of his hands and are going to lose ground if not careful!  The owners made a huge move to 50/50 and honor contracts.  If they try and add more into it, the owners may just walk away and be done with it.

Players:  Please FIRE FEHR!!!!  As moma said in the "Waterboy,"...He's the DEVIL!

I agree...Why didn't the PA

I agree...Why didn't the PA make a counter offer when the 49% was proposed? They can't make the owners out to be the only bad guys. I hope they don't seriously believe that all fans back them 100%. They are very wrong, I am just as frustrated at the PA, as the league, probably more so at the PA. If Nov 2, comes and goes and they have not agreed to some form of this CBA, it's all on the PA.


Of course, Donald Fehr didn't delay at all either.

Sorry, but some of these players are sounding hypocritical when they talk about "waiting" with regard to negotiations.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.