When the NHL and NHLPA finally agreed to meet on Tuesday in an attempt to negotiate towards a new CBA, it brought out a small dose of optimism from hockey fans. Talks went well, at least according to the sources that speculate on all things NHL. Another sign that the talks are progressing is the fact that they met again on Wednesday and plan to meet again for a third straight day on Thursday.
Neither side is relinquishing much in terms of detail surrounding the talks, but given they haven’t broken off negotiations or tried to slander the other party through the media should be taken as all positives that perhaps they are working towards a new deal.
According to TSN.ca, the two parties have yet to discuss the “make whole” provision that is now the most popular topic when talking about the NHL. Through the first two days it hasn’t been discussed, but TSN reports that both sides expect it to be front and center on Thursday; after all, without acknowledging the elephant in the room and addressing it, there is no chance of a new CBA being hammered out.
So what have they been talking about for two straight days? Contract issues was the hot topic of debate on Tuesday, mainly how the owners want to roll back previously committed contracts, among other details. The players have stated back in October that they were willing to take a 50-50 revenue sharing split if and only if the owners honored all previously committed contracts.
The owners had stood firm on their October offer, roughly one month ago, forcing the league to cancel all games through October and most recently the Winter Classic.
Other items that have been discussed this week include, changes to unrestricted free agency, entry-level deals, arbitration and contract lengths. The two big rocks in the whole process are the aforementioned “make whole” provision and the revenue sharing. It is believed that Bill Daly and Steve Fehr discussed the “make whole” revisions that the owners offered last week when the two met over the weekend.
A new deal is still a ways away from being completed, especially when you consider they haven’t gotten into the heavy lifting of the negotiations, being the “make whole” and revenue sharing. But hey, this is a great sign that they will meet for the third straight day.
Donald Fehr did have this to say:
“The players’ view has always been that we ought to keep negotiating until we find a way to get an agreement,” said Fehr. “You sort of stay at it day by day — so it’s very good to be getting back to the table. We hope that this time it produces more progress than we’ve seen in the past and we can figure out a way to make an agreement and to get the game back on the ice as soon as possible.”
Either way you look at it, progress appears to have been made and maybe, just maybe we’ll have hockey sooner, rather than later.
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