As the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement approaches, the NHL and NHLPA met in New York on Wednesday in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a work stoppage. The league will lock out the players beginning on Saturday at midnight EST if no deal is in place.
In its latest proposal on Wednesday, the NHL offered the players a six-year deal that includes 49 percent of hockey-related revenue as defined under the current CBA. That percentage decreases to 47 percent in the final year, according to TSNs Pierre LeBrun.
According to Bettman, the league has given 250-300 million back to the players as compared with its previous proposal. Under the current CBA, the players collect 57 percent of revenues. The league initially wanted to redefine hockey-related revenue, but has since come off of that stance in what could be a key development.
But, it still seems like a deal is unlikely before Saturday. Union boss Donald Fehr offered little optimism later in the day on Wednesday, and made it clear that a wide gap remains in terms of how do divide the NHL's revenues. The players have no interest in a salary reduction, and the NHL's latest proposal includes a nearly 10 percent rollback to existing contracts.
Meanwhile, a huge contingent of NHL players has gathered in New York for two days of meetings with Fehr. Nearly 300 players -- including Sharks Douglas Murray, Tommy Wingels and Brent Burns -- are on hand in a show of solidarity to the owners that are prepared to shut down the league this weekend.
Bettman told reporters that if there were no deal by Saturday, the owners latest proposal would be off the table. The NHLs Board of Governors are set to meet on Thursday in New York, while a conference call with the media is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
NHL training camps are scheduled to open on Sep. 21.