Players: NHL owners' offer is more of the same


Players: NHL owners' offer is more of the same

The National Hockey League Players Association met with NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday in New York City, and the result was more of the same.

There's still no deal.

Both sides made proposals, with the players making theirs first. It was followed up with a counterproposal by the league. Needless to say, the players still aren't happy with what they league is coming back to them with.

According to a player who attended the early-afternoon meeting, the league's counterproposal isn't much different than its last one.

"Owners are going to say they changed a lot, but they did not, when you actually do the math," said the player.

"They like to shape it that they're giving us money. But all they're doing is slightly lessening how much they want to take."

Economic issues seem to be the only -- or at least the biggest -- barrier in the way of there being hockey this season. And the players, at least, feel like they're making the necessary concessions to make a deal.

"They came to us with problems, which we are trying to address," said a player involved in Wednesday's meeting. "And they just want a money grab in the form of escrow."

According to that player inside the meeting, the NHLPA made its proposal first. And once again, the players made more concessions that, according to the player, "significantly limit" their share growth over the next few years.

"We're willing to take less over the next few years to help the owners," said the player. "But they need to be willing to help each other as well."

With a Sept. 15 deadline looming, the player also re-iterated that that date doesn't mean much, other than the fact that Bettman has threatened a lockout.

"There's no reason that September 15 is important, other than the owners said they would lock us out," he said. "But not much changed from their side, so it gives us one less day to work."

The NHLPA will now have their own internal meetings in New York City the next two days, which will be "the most attended meeting so far," according to one player. The owners will also have their own internal meetings, on Thursday.

A player involved in Wednesday's meetings said he "doubts" the two sides will go back to the drawing board on Thursday, but also said that "talks are still open" and that both parties will "continually be in touch."

"We have to reassess after that, and see if the owners decide to start negotiating for real, to deal with their own issues," he said.

"We're still determined. We want to make sure that the league is healthier after this process. And we're just looking to get a fair deal."

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