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NHL Talks Trudge On with Little Progress


Despite numerous negotiation sessions, the NHL season is still up in the air.

According to multiple sources, the players and owners resumed talks on Friday, trying to inch closer to a new collective bargaining agreement that makes sense for both sides.  Though the talks are a sign of progress, it seems that the two sides are still far from settling their dispute.

“While a step forward, a significant gap remains,” the union’s executive director Donald Fehr said.  “We were told that the owners want an ‘immediate reset’ to 50-50 (on the collective bargaining agreement).”

Meanwhile, the union has offered to decrease the player’s overall share of revenue to 50 percent in the third year of a player’s contract.  By offering this new agreement, the union is aiming at owners who don’t honor existing contracts for at least two years, hoping that players will be given more job security going forward.

In response, the owners offered several revised proposals that would give them more leverage when it comes to arbitration, free-agency eligibility and contract term limits that would “significantly reduce a player’s bargaining power.”

Fehr’s memo expressed some of the concern over the likelihood of a season.

“In short, the concessions on future salary we have offered (at least $948 million to $1.25 billion over five years, depending on hockey related revenue growth) are not enough,” Fehr said.  “We are still being told that more salaries must be conceded, and that very valuable player contracting rights must be surrendered.  So, while we are meeting again, and while some steps are being taken, there is still a lot of work to be done and bridges to be crossed before an agreement can be made.

Fehr also insinuated that talks could continue into the weekend, which is still a good sign that both the players and owners are not giving up on the season.  This gives hope to the average NHL fan, who has gone through some ups and downs as the talks progress.  They may just have to wait until the new year until both sides resolve their issues.  In that case, it’s going to be a long NHL-free winter.

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