“Everything that we’ve done has been well thought out,” Spezza said. “There’s a reason behind our proposal. The biggest reason is because we want to try to find a way to play and find a way to reach a fair agreement.”
Fehr has said the players are willing to work past Sept. 15 if an agreement hasn’t been signed, as long as one is on the horizon. Bettman has already said the NHL is prepared to lock out its players if no deal is reached by then. Negotiations have been under way for seven weeks. The regular season is slated to begin on Oct. 11.
Fehr said the proposal, “should lead to a new CBA.”
“Players did not believe the owner’s initial proposal was appropriate,” he said.
Both sides acknowledged negotiations are firm and constructive.
“In essence, when you boil it all down, what we’re suggesting is that the players partner with the financially stronger owners to stabilize the industry,” Fehr said, “and assist the less financially strong ownership groups.”
The NHL has had two seasons disrupted by labor disputes over the past two decades. In addition to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, almost half of the 1994-95 season was wiped out by a labor dispute. Training camps are scheduled to start on Sept. 16, one day after the current CBA ends.
“The players want a new CBA,” Fehr said. “And they want it soon.”
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