NHL Considering NHLPA Counteroffer

The NHL and NHLPA slowed contract negotiations for the last several weeks and are now once again swapping proposals.

On Monday afternoon, the NHLPA issued a counter-proposal to the league with both sides expected to speak in person on Tuesday morning.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league would review the proposal on New Years Eve and respond to the union’s requests on Tuesday.

According to Bettman:

“We spent a good part of the afternoon with the players’ association. They were responding to the proposal we made Thursday and their response was a comprehensive one, dealing with a full slate of issues that we raised and proposals that we put forth, and we’re in the process of reviewing their response,” he said. “We’re going to do that tonight and our expectation is that we’ll contact them (Tuesday) morning and arrange to get back together, hopefully, certainly by midday. We’re going to try and turn this around overnight so we can continue the process.”

Bettman and his team of advisers spent three hours in negotiations with the NHLPA, although part of that time was spent in internal talks to discuss the new proposal.

The NHL’s front office said last week that the season would need to begin by January 19 and that a deal would need to be reached by January 11 in order to meet that January 19 deadline.

If the NHL managed to pull off a January 19 season start, NHL fans would be treated to a shortened 48 games season with teams only competing “in-conference” leading up to the playoffs.

Commissioner Bettman says a season shorter than 48 games wouldn’t make sense, leaving players, the NHLPA, and team owners with critical last minute decisions if they hope to save the 2012-2013 NHL season.