NHL and NHLPA to meet Thursday; counter-offer expected

NHL and NHLPA to meet Thursday; counter-offer expected
October 18, 2012, 1:04 am
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There was genuine curiosity waiting on a reaction from NHLPA to the NHLs Tuesday offer that broke a month's worth of ice in negotiations.
Would NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr reject the 5050 offer out of hand and enrage hockey fans that have been lulled into a false sense of security that the NHL regular season is now going to start on Nov. 2?
Would the players put their collective minds together and counter the NHLs proposal with a thoughtful rebuttal built off the leagues offer while staying true to their own idea of fairness?
It appears it will be more of the latter than the former as sources inside the negotiations confirmed to CSNNE.com that the NHLPA and NHL will meet in Toronto at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The NHLPA is expected to have a counter-proposal for the league at that time, and it should set off a week of intense negotiations provided the NHL is receptive to Fehrs modest proposal.
While the public release of the NHLs entire CBA offer on Wednesday morning was rather unorthodox by professional sports league standards, it appears Bettman and Co. were attempting to accomplish a pair of goals.
First, they wanted to put a little pressure on Fehr and the NHLPA after the league has been more bug than windshield during the CBA negotiations. The notion of a 5050 split of revenues is the kind of proposal that seems inherently fair to the public at large, and is the current CBA arrangements in both the NBA and NFL.
Secondly, theres a suspicion on the players side that the offers very public release was an effort on the NHLs part to get the verbatim offer directly in the hands of the 700 plus members of the NHLPA. There may be some concern on the NHLs part that Fehr is filtering their message to the players above and beyond the reasoning given that there have been widespread reports attempting to describe and characterize the terms of the offer that understandably are incomplete.
Either way, its simply a positive development that both sides are actively negotiating, and there will certainly be ups, downs and all-arounds over the next week as the two sides gamely attempt to preserve an 82-game regular season.