Just like that, all the pressure’s on the NHLPA

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Forget focus groups. Turns out the best way for the NHL to win over the public was to make the NHLPA a new proposal.

And not just any proposal. The one the league presented Tuesday in Toronto called for a 50-50 split of revenue between the league and players – a split that’s right in line with recent labor agreements in the NBA and NFL.

Of course, in comparison to the last CBA, which gave the players 57 percent of HRR, the offer still represents a better deal for the owners. But if the NHLPA dismisses this proposal without some sort of reasonable response, it better have a great excuse.

Consider:

—- Most observers figured the NHL and NHLPA would ultimately settle on a 50-50 split. Well, there it is. And if, as commissioner Gary Bettman maintains, the offer “addressed the concern that players have about what happens to their salaries as a result in this year of reducing the percentage from 57 to 50%,” how can the players ask for much more?

—- The league made the offer, not the players. After weeks of posturing and spinning from both sides, the NHL’s willingness to move the process forward will earn it points.

—- According to the NHL, a full 82-game season can still be saved. But not if this thing drags on any longer. So do the players “just want to play,” as they’ve said over and over? If they do, then they’d be wise to show it, not just say it.

Your move, NHLPA.