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."