No new proposals were presented Monday night at a meeting between the NHL and the players' association as talks resumed after a week's hiatus.
But one might be coming.
After the session in midtown Manhattan, which lasted about 90 minutes and included five Rangers and two of the league's stars, Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league pressed the union for a full, formal proposal to "clarify" the PA's positions. "We'd like to hear it all together," he said. The league wants to settle the issue of dividing hockey-related revenues before debating the contracting issues. "It's all tied together," he said.
Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, said the players tried to engage the owners in a discussion on player contracting issues, but they were "unwilling." Some core economic issues were discussed and the sides did agree to confer this morning.
The league wants a 50-50 split of revenues, but getting there is problematic. It also has proposed a five-year limit on contracts, extending free-agency eligibility from age 27 or seven years of service to 28 or eight years, changing entry-level contracts and eliminating salary arbitration. Fehr has said the players are not pleased with the proposed restrictions.
Eighteen players, including the Rangers' Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Jeff Halpern joined the union contingent. After the session, Staal was asked if there was any progress. His answer? "We'll see."
Among the owners at the bargaining table with commissioner Gary Bettman were the Bruins' Jeremy Jacobs, who is also the head of the negotiating committee, Calgary's Murray Edwards and the Capitals' Ted Leonis, as well as Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
The league has canceled 327 games through Nov. 30, and it is believed that without any progress this week, a slate of December games, and possibly the All-Star Game in Columbus in January, could be wiped out.