Bettman on CBA: “The owners will not play another year under the current agreement”

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With labor negotiations heating up, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman echoed the owners’ refusal to play another season under the current CBA.

“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters following Thursday’s meetings.

This statement is significant regarding the agreement’s expiration — Sept. 15. The owners’ stance on not extending the current bargaining agreement means it’s essentially a lockout date.

Previously, NHLPA boss Donald Fehr stated Sept. 15 “is not a magic date unless someone wants to make it so.”

“There’s nothing magic about Sept. 15. The law is that if you don’t have a new agreement, and as long as both sides are willing to keep negotiating, you can continue to play under the terms of the old one until you reach an agreement,” he said back in late June. “All I know is that in baseball, there were any number of occasions in which we played while the parties were continuing to negotiate.”

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News pressed the commissioner further on the issue of continuing under the current CBA.

“Asked Bettman if NHL could operate if deal was close — crossing t’s, dotting i’s — on 9/15,” Spector tweeted. “He said if they were close, they’d get it done.”

In other CBA-related news from today:

— Fehr said there’s a “meaningful gulf” between the two sides on revenue sharing.

From ESPN’s Katie Strang: “NHLPA made a presentation in response to league’s proposed revenue-sharing system today. Counter-proposal coming Tuesday.”