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End in sight? NHL, players bargain deep into night
Back in October, the players’ association responded to an NHL offer with three of its own, but all of those were quickly dismissed by the league _ leading to nearly three weeks without face-to-face discussions. Daly and Steve Fehr kept in regular contact by phone and agreed to meet again last weekend.
The NHL has moved toward the players’ side in the contentious issue of the “make-whole” provision, which involves the payment of player contracts that are already in effect and whose share of the economic pie that money will come from.
Other core economic issues _ mainly the split of hockey-related revenue _ along with contract lengths, arbitration and free agency will also need to be agreed upon before a deal can be reached.
The players’ association accepted a salary cap in the previous CBA, which wasn’t reached until after the entire 2004-05 season was canceled because of a lockout. The union doesn’t want to absorb the majority of concessions this time after the NHL recorded record revenue that exceeded $3 billion last season.
“The issues the players are concerned about remain the same,” Donald Fehr said. “The players haven’t seen any need to go backward, given the history of the last negotiations and given the level of revenue increase since then. Player-contracting rights are very important to them.
“Before we have any agreement, both sides have to see everything on paper and make sure that they all understand it right. That’s about all I can say about it at this stage. I don’t want to prejudge or indicate that I have any particular impressions or expectations. That’s what the meetings are for.”
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