NHL Lockout: League, NHLPA Said To Be $40 Million Apart, But Progress Could Come Soon

NHL Lockout: Players And League $40 Million Apart

As the NHL lockout drags on, progress appears to be slow as the NHL and NHLPA made no progress on major issues after a meeting Wednesday and remain $40 million apart on proposals.

As ESPN reported, negotiations aimed at ending the NHL lockout ended Wednesday at around 3 pm, with union leader Donald Fehr saying there was “no movement” on major issues. The players had given management a proposal that brought the sides $40 million apart on a five-year contract.

The end of Wednesday marked a process to end the NHL lockout that seemed to be up and down. The sides have met frequently, often for hours multiple days in a row, but progress has been slow. Last week talks broke down to the point that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proposed a two-week moratorium on talks, an idea that was quickly shot down by players.

There does seem to be some optimism based on the proposal players made on Wednesday. Brad Richards of the New York Rangers told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that the latest proposal from players “is a move in their direction again and based off of their proposal. There has to be an effort from them to get this done now.”

The main point of contention appears to be whether owners will split hockey-related revenue and its effect on current contracts.

As ESPN notes:

“NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Oct. 16 proposed a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue. With guaranteed contracts likely to push the players’ share over the halfway mark originally, management wants that money to come out of future years to bring the overall percentage down to an even split over the length of an agreement.”

Though the league has yet to respond to the proposal, it could represent a breakthrough in negotiations.

Kevin Allen of USA Today explains”

“Today will be the most pivotal day in these negotiations because the NHL Players’ Association is at the point where executive director Donald Fehr and players probably can negotiate their best deal without risking a financial Armageddon.

“Two things have to occur today to provide the NHL with a chance to start the 2012-13 season in the foreseeable future. First, the players will have to move off their demand for a guarantee that their take won’t fall below the $1.883 billion they received last season and embrace the idea of a percentage-linked system. Owners aren’t going to back off on their desire for a 50-50 split. Owners want to see a full proposal from players that addresses that objective.”

Players and NHL officials have not set a date to meet again to discuss the NHL lockout.