Tomorrow, the eve of Labor Day weekend, could be a tipping point on the direction of the collective bargaining talks between the NHL and the NHLPA.
The PA spent Thursday huddled in their midtown offices shaping a new counter-proposal to the league, and will present it Friday morning a few streets away at the NHL offices. If there’s room for compromise and the sides are willing, it’s possible that they will meet again on Saturday.
“We’re hopeful that’s it’s a meaningful proposal that we can continue to make progress from; we feel like we made a good step in that direction earlier this week, we hope they would take a step forward as well,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday. “We’re not married to the structure, and if it’s a good proposal and takes a different route, we’re open to that.”
The key economic issue involves a way to share hockey-related revenues, and the NHL proposed a phase-in during a six-year deal. The players have been receiving 57 percent of HRR currently; the league prefers that reduced to around 50, although the league also wants to remove some of the revenues included. The players also are reluctant to see their escrow payments increase by double-digits.
Anyway, once that part of the overall agreement is decided, there are other issues, including the term of player contracts and revenue-sharing between the teams, which need to be resolved. The CBA expires on midnight Sept. 15, and the NHL board of governors meets on Sept. 13 in New York.
“Obviously the clock is ticking, “Daly said. “I would say the positive thing is that both parties are committed to….if there are reasons to meet…to continue to move forward, to see what it takes to get a deal done. But obviously, every day that goes by, it’s less and less likely that we can come to closure on all the issues we need to come to closure on.”
As for continuing talks without a break, Daly said:
“It’ll depend on the nature of the proposal, the structure of the proposal, how detailed it is; the first proposal they made on Aug. 14, we took the night to analyze it…There’s nothing that would preclude us from meeting on Saturday if there’s a reason to meet on Saturday.”