The NHL, in what it says is an attempt to salvage the entire 82-game season, made a new proposal today on a new collective bargaining agreement that would split the hockey revenue 50-50.
The NHL's proposal to the NHL Players Association came in a meeting today in Toronto. Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters after the meeting the proposal was made in the "spirit of getting a full season in" and did not call for an immediate rollback in salaries.
Bettman said the offer was contingent on the season starting Nov. 2, allowing the league to get in the full 82 games. The playoffs, Bettman said, could be completed by the end of June.
"We want very much to preserve a full 82-game season," Bettman said. "We made an offer that was our best shot at preserving an 82-game season and the playoffs. We've given it our best shot."
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr told the media the union needed more time to fully analyze the offer and the financial numbers involved before responding. The union was to hold a conference call later today with its executive board and negotiating committee.
"We're always happy to receive a proposal," Fehr told the media. "Gary indicated to me they'd still like to get a full 82-game season in, and we of course share that view.
"I would like to believe this will be an excellent starting point and we can go forward and see if there's a deal to be made. ... I've been looking for a way to get these negotiations jump-started, and if this does it that's great. We'll see though."
Bettman said there was nine- or 10-day period to "get this all put to bed, sign, sealed and delivered" and then have a one-week training camp.
The NHL locked out the players after the CBA expired at 11:59 p.m. pn Sept. 15. The league later canceled all preseason games, then the first two weeks of the regular season. The NHL regular season was scheduled to open Oct. 11.
Under the old CBA, the players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue last season. The league first proposed cutting the players' share to 43 percent. In a second proposal, the league said the players' HRR share would be reduced to 47 percent over the course of a six-year CBA.
The players have proposed smaller salary increases in each of the next three years and a five-year CBA.
Bettman but did not specify the number of years in the CBA proposed today, but said, "We believe this was a fair offer for a long-term deal." Fehr said later that he understood it was "at least six years."
Media reports from Toronto say the league also proposed limiting contracts to five years in length while retaining three-year entry-level contracts. Unrestricted free agency would begin at age 28 and after eight years of service. Salary arbitration would remain.
Fehr said he did not know the league proposal was coming today but said it was not surprising.