Report: NHL and players to talk Saturday, meet on Sunday

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After today’s breaking news about the NHL making a new offer to the players in an attempt to end the lockout, the next question to follow was: When will they meet?

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press reports the two sides will have a conference call tomorrow and aim to meet in New York City on Sunday in an effort to negotiate a new CBA.

The NHLPA held an internal conference call today to discuss the league’s latest offer and there’s clearly a lot to chew on with it. Getting the two sides back in the room to potentially put an end to this mess is the next step. Here’s to hoping things stay civil this time around.

NHL confirms making “new, comprehensive proposal” to NHLPA

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NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has confirmed the league made a new collective bargaining agreement offer to the players’ union.

Daly’s statement, courtesy NHL.com:

In light of media reports this morning, I can confirm that we delivered to the Union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA late yesterday afternoon.

We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the Union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players.

We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.

Some of the main points of the NHL’s latest offer:

– The NHL is now willing to allow a variance of 10% in contracts, up from its previous offer of 5%.

– $300 million in Make Whole or, as NHLPA boss Donald Fehr prefers to call it, “transition payments” is still on the table.

– The salary cap for 2013-14 would be $60 million.

– Each team would be allowed to buy out one contract prior to 2013-14 without it impacting the salary cap. However, the money would still come out of the players’ share of hockey-related revenues.

– The proposed CBA is still a 10-year deal and an “extremely detailed proposal,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Michael Russo.

Courtesy ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, here are the full details.

Curiously, Daly’s confirmation comes shortly after Helene Elliott of the LA Times reported the following:

That came on Thursday, the same day the NHL submitted its proposal to the union.

Related

Report: NHL makes concessions in new offer to union

NHLPA reportedly working on counteroffer

NHL targeting Jan. 19 start date?

Report: Talks to re-open on Wednesday or Thursday

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Fans, owners, and players alike all got nothing but bad news ahead of Christmas. With games canceled up through January 14 and the NHLPA voting overwhelmingly to disclaim interest if need be, that’s a lot of doomsday talk. Business may be about to pick up, however.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports today the two sides are aiming to get back together to talk just after the holiday. In his weekly column he says the two sides are looking at either Wednesday or Thursday to reconvene talks.

Brooks, for all his pro-union leanings, suggests that one thing the players could do to spark negotiations is to give in on the owners’ desire for a 10-year CBA with an out after eight. That seems like a logical bargaining chip to work with, but asking for logic now is like asking for a Porsche for Christmas.

Was Bill Daly serious about saying there would be a season?

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NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly caused a bit of a stir the other day when, while put on the spot with a “yes or no” question, he said he believed there would be a season.

So was that a guarantee?

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, in a lengthy Q&A with Daly, asked him to clarify what he said.

“I only had two choices: Of course, I was going to answer ‘Yes’,” said Daly. “Yes, I do (have optimism). That’s more my nature. I don’t understand to a large extent why we’re where we’re at. I still think at the end of the day we should be able to get deal.”

Optimism sure is nice to have and it would be great if his instincts play out correctly and a shortened season does occur. That said, it’s tough to have optimism when the NHL has canceled games through January 14 and it would seem like if there’s another cancellation it’ll be for the rest of the season.

But hey, if the NHL’s second in command feels like there’s going to be hockey that’s good… Right?

Fehr on Daly’s statement: “I certainly hope he’s right”

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When Bill Daly told Hockey Night In Canada radio today he believed there will be a season, it gave fans a reason to be optimistic. They’re not the only ones.

Before tonight’s charity game between Team Subban and Team Stamkos in Toronto, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr spoke with the media and when told about Daly’s proclamation, he was his usual understated self.

“That’s good news. I’m glad to hear that. I certainly hope he’s right,” Fehr told reporters.

Hope? Optimism? A return to the bargaining table? We can hold out for all of these things, but for now all these quotes are good for are to show us what we’ve known for some time now. We know both sides want to play hockey and they want to get a deal hammered out on their terms.

For now, since they’re not talking with each other they’ll continue to talk to just about everyone else.