NHL, players search for common ground

August 29, 2012, 6:56 pm
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The NHLPA on Wednesday is expected to respond the leagues latest proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement, as the two sides work to try to avoid a lockout on Sept. 15.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray has been a part of the contingent of players involved in the meetings at the NHL offices in New York City in each of the last two days.

On Tuesday, the league offered up the latest version of its plan to reduce the players percentage of hockey related revenue, and Gary Bettman told reporters that it had significant and had meaningful movement. Reports surfaced that the NHL plans to reduce the players share of revenue gradually over the next several years, eventually getting it to a 50-50 split.

The salary cap for the 2012-13 season, under the owners latest plan, would be around 58 million. That would complicate matters for a number of NHL clubs that are already over that mark, including San Jose, which has 21 players signed to more than 65 million, according to the latest numbers at CapGeek.com.

We should know later on Wednesday or at some point this week how the players view the latest proposal or if it can lead to more meaningful dialogue and common ground.

It is at least somewhat encouraging that the two sides remain at the table and have yet to lash out at one another through the media. While its clear that there is disagreement, and time is running short to begin training camp on time, its a far cry from eight years ago when the two sides were firmly entrenched in their positions and a complete lost season was the eventual result.

At the same time, there is a significant difference in the way each side wants to distribute revenue, specifically the weaker clubs that struggle at the gate. The players would like to see increased revenue sharing from the big market clubs like Toronto, New York Rangers, Vancouver and Philadelphia while the league favors those funds coming from reduced player salaries.

Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are the leagues chief negotiators, while NHLPA head Donald Fehr and his brother, Steve, were joined by NHL players Craig Adams, Nick Bonino, B.J. Crombeen, Alex Goligoski, Ron Hainsey, Mike Komisarek, George Parros, Chris Phillips, Kevin Shattenkirk, Kevin Westgarth and Murray.