NHL offers concession to NHLPA on significant CBA point, prompting a meeting this weekend, the reasons behind the cancellation of the Winter Classic, and enforcer Eric Godard announces his retirement.


Steve Fehr & Bill Daly to meet Saturday for CBA talks.

TSN.CA/ESPN.COM: Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun reported last night the NHL has offered to amend the “Make Whole” provision in its recent CBA proposal to the NHLPA which would shift the cost of deferred payments away from the players to the owners. As per Dreger:

“The concept of “Make Whole” is a protection plan to cover player salary reduction in dropping the players revenue share from 57 per cent to 50 per cent in Year 1 of a new CBA. The NHL proposal included a deferred payment system which the league is also willing to reconsider when negotiations resume.”

LeBrun, meanwhile, reports NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr will meet on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apparently the league offered this concession earlier in the week, prior to the league’s cancellation of the Winter Classic. The “Make Whole” concept initially would’ve seen the cost of deferment payments coming from the players. The league is now offering to have the owners pick up the tab. It remains to be seen, of course, if this will prompt the NHLPA to return to the bargaining table, let alone if its something the PA would seriously consider. As they say, “the devil is in the details”, and as Lebrun suggested, the two sides would need to agree on the amount and method of payment, plus there are other notable issues still to be addressed.

The fact Daly and Fehr are meeting today suggests the PA is intrigued. Hopefully, this will spur a return to formal negotiations toward the two sides soon and a resolution to save the remainder of the season by the end of this month.

ESPN.COM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Pierre LeBrun and David Shoalts explain the reasons behind the NHL’s cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic (Preparation, players unhappiness with league over CBA talks, limited time to ensure a sellout). The general feeling is it would be better to stage the event in 2014 in the same location with the same teams once the lockout is over. Scott Burnside, meanwhile, suggests the cancellation of this season’s Winter Classic won’t hurt future ones.

 DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS: Reaction from the Detroit media toward the cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic.

VERNON MORNING STAR: NHL enforcer Eric Godard has announced his retirement.