Players present league with counteroffer; more talks expected Tuesday

Players present league with counteroffer; more talks expected Tuesday
December 31, 2012, 10:56 pm
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The NHLPA on Monday presented the NHL with what commissioner Gary Bettman called a "comprehensive" response to the league's proposal of late last week, and Bettman said the league would review the offer overnight.

The sides are expected to meet again Tuesday.

Neither Bettman nor NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr would characterize the offer, or speculate if the sides were closer. Bettman also confirmed that a settlement must be reached by Jan. 11 to salvage a 48-game season.

After the NHL sent Fehr a 300-page offer at the end of last week, the players responded by delivering their own counteroffer on Monday at the NHL offices in New York. NHL players Ron Hainsey, Rick DiPietro, Martin St. Louis, Jamal Mayers and Chris Campoli arrived with the NHLPA contingent shortly after 2 p.m., and they were soon joined by Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan.

It was the first time the two sides had met since talks blew up on Dec. 6 when the league rejected an NHLPA proposal via voicemail. Bettman followed with a more than 30-minute, fire-and-brimstone press conference that was full of emotion, anger and an unwillingness to budge from the leagues offer.

Three weeks later the league came back to the table with an offer that included movement in key areas like longer term for individual player contracts, amnesty buyouts for one contract per NHL team prior to the 2013-14 season, and no changes to Hockey Related Revenue splits or the 300 million make whole money that was previously agreed upon.

Many have speculated that the players will have issues with the 60 million salary cap ceiling planned for next years full 82-game season and a long-term CBA without a cap on escrow given some of the fallout possible from the current lockout. The question now is whether either of those smaller details to a long term CBA will be the hill to die on for the players in a protracted NHL lockout thats drawn severe amounts of blood on both sides.