The NHL Players' Association, hoping to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by Sept. 15, when the current one expires, Thursday did not provide a counterproposal to the NHL's initial offer from last Friday, and is seeking more information over the next two days before making its next move.
"I think everybody's expecting us to say how upset and disappointed we were in it," said Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky, one of 15 players to attend the two-hour-plus session in Manhattan. "But it's a negotiation, and that was their starting point, and we just got to continue to work through some of the issues . . . "
The sweeping NHL offer reportedly included a cut in the players' share of hockey-related revenues from 57 to 46 percent, elimination of salary arbitration, and changes in free agency, contract length for established and entry-level players. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr wouldn't provide details on the offer except to say it included givebacks. "They have asked for a reduction in the players' share," he said.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who attended the meetings for the first time, said, "It was good. We're waiting for more information before we can even move forward. I'm more of just trying to take it all in and try to get an understanding of where we are and where we're going."
With Alex M. Silverman