Entering Day 109 of the NHL lockout, negotiations between the league & NHLPA appear to be heating up as a third straight day of talks are planned for today.
CANADIAN PRESS (VIA TSN.CA): The NHL last night presented a counter-proposal to the NHLPA’s counter-proposal during a 30-minute meeting, which the PA is now taking time to analyze before meeting again with the league, which is expected later today. NHLPA director Donald Fehr called it a “comprehensive offer” and is “reasonably certain” of meeting again with the league today. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman declined to reveal details of the league’s latest offer, but said there were “certain things that the players’ association asked for that we agreed to, there were some things that we moved in their direction, and there were other things that we said no.” Both sides agree it is best they’re now involved in what Bettman called “a continuous process”.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts reports both sides concede they are close to an agreement on revenue-sharing, in which the wealthy clubs would contribute $200 million that will be shared by the smaller revenue clubs. It was also believed they were close on a defined-benefit pension plan, but additional demands by the owners apparently stalled this topic. Shoalts noted the fact there aren’t many leaks coming from either side was a good sign, indicating neither side wants to do anything which could jeopardize talks. He does, however, point out the NHLPA is due to file a disclaimer of interest today.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports we’ll know by 11.59 pm ET today if the NHLPA believes a deal is getting done, as that’s the deadline for filing its disclaimer of interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, so good regarding CBA talks. The posturing and theatrics have stopped, as both sides appear to be seriously engaging in negotiations toward a season-saving deal.
If the NHLPA files its disclaimer, that would likely signal the end of this round of talks and end any notion of playing what remains of the 2012-13 season. Still, the consensus among the punditry is talks are progressing so the PA is unlikely to do anything to jeopardize talks at this point. I’ve heard the suggestion the league could simply return to its hard-line tactics if the PA opts not to file a disclaimer, but if that were to happen, the players can simply stage another vote on the subject, which will likely pass by the same wide margin as its previous vote. So, I doubt the league tries that stunt.
The owners are rumored to want a season, and the players want to play. With a January 11 deadline looming, they now have something to work toward.
NATIONAL POST: Sean Fitzgerald lists the most memorable moments of the NHL lockout so far.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Greg Wyshynski noted a “tweet” by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos suggesting there’s been internal discussions between the league and PA over expanding the playoffs from 16 to 20 teams, though it hasn’t been brought up in CBA talks.
CANOE.CA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers suffered a wrist injury during the 2012 Spengler Cup and will be sidelined two-three weeks.