NHL, players schedule talks for today after long bargaining session

NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr listens

NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr listens as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman holds a news conference before Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals. (June 1, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Well, at least neither side stormed out after meeting for 10 minutes.

That was the scenario the last time the NHL and NHLPA met in a large group setting in Toronto on Oct. 18, when commissioner Gary Bettman and several owners broke off talks because the locked-out players declined to directly respond to the league's offer that was on the table. Instead, the players offered three proposals of their own on how to divide annual revenues that totaled $3.3 billion last season.

Tuesday, with 326 games and the Winter Classic scrapped, there seemed to be a little more urgency to try to reach a deal, with talks at an undisclosed location in Manhattan. They began at 3 p.m and ended seven hours later with more talks set for Wednesday.

"Collective bargaining negotiations between the National Hockey League and representatives of the National Hockey League's Players' Association recessed tonight at 10:15 p.m.," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "With meetings scheduled to resume Wednesday, the league will not characterize the substance or detail of the discussions until their conclusion."

Said NHLPA executive directory Donald Fehr before the meeting began: "The players' view has always been that we ought to keep negotiating until we find a way to get an agreement and you sort of stay at it day-by-day, so it's very good to be getting back to the table.

One crucial element expected to be discussed is the "make whole" provision of the NHL's Oct. 16 proposal. The league proposed deferring part of the players' salaries and paying out that portion over the length of their existing contracts to achieve a 50-50 split in revenues immediately. But the players balked because the payments would have come from their share of revenues down the road. If the league backs off that and honors the full contracts, the sides still have other issues. For example, the league wants to limit contracts to five years and extend eligibility for free agency from seven to eight years.

Fehr and Bettman, were on hand, along with Daly and the union's special counsel Steve Fehr.

"We're hopeful that we'll continue bargaining until we find a way to make a deal," Don Fehr said. "Sometimes that goes in rather long sessions with short breaks and sometimes you take a few hours or a half a day or a day to work on things before you come back together."

Isles to hold Sandy event. The Islanders will hold a free public skate at Nassau Coliseum on Monday from 2-8 p.m. to benefit victims of superstorm Sandy. People who wish to attend can skate on a first-come, first-served basis (fans must bring their own skates), and all who attend are encouraged to donate non-perishable goods, clothing and money.

With AP

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments

Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: