Does a Proposal Request Mean Progress For NHL & NHLPA?

The NHL and NHLPA were back at the bargaining table on Monday for a meeting that lasted just over two hours.  When the two sides broke for the night the NHL made one thing clear with the NHLPA; they want one proposal with all of their criteria for a new CBA in writing.  This sounds like some progress is being made.

The NHL claims they have never seen or heard a full proposal from the player’s union that outlines all of their “desires” according to TSN.ca and now the league and the owners want to see what that looks like.  Without it, negotiations tend to fizzle away and in order to save any type of season, progress needs to be made immediately.  This request will provide a starting point for the owners to come back with their counter offer and with any luck, good, solid negotiations could take place resulting in a new CBA.

The report on TSN also states that a source close to the situation feels that the players are feeling a sense of urgency and that the NHLPA will look at making various “give and take” proposals.  Again, this can only be viewed as good news which could result in both sides agreeing on some key issues and get the ball rolling on the bigger hurdles at hand.

One important fact does remain and that is it’s not yet known how the NHLPA will react to this request from the owners.  Obviously everyone who follows the lockout is holding their collective breath in that Donald Fehr will provide the owners what they want to see.  If he doesn’t then it will be pretty clear that he truly does not want a deal this season and the likelihood of losing the remaining games this year just became a sure bet.

Fehr was tight lipped when speaking to the media after Monday’s meeting and it’s unclear if he will include the revenue sharing demands if he does move forward with a proposal.  He’d be silly not to as the league wants to know where the player’s stand on all issues and not have to sit around and wait for a follow up offer with the big rocks being the focus.

It’s expected that the league will cancel games through December 15 sometime this week with the annual All-Star game said to be included in the next round of cancellation.

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