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NHL’s Bettman disappointed with union’s proposals
TORONTO (AP) - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman received three counterproposals from the players’ association on Thursday and left the negotiating table “thoroughly disappointed.”
No new talks have been scheduled, and the possibility of a full hockey regular season is quickly shrinking.
“This is not a good day,” union executive director Donald Fehr said. “It should have been.”
The players’ association offered multiple options in response to the NHL’s offer on Tuesday that called for an 82-game season and a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues between owners and players.
Bettman said that proposal was the “best that we could do” and added that the two sides are still far apart.
“None of the three variations of player share that they gave us even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time,” Bettman said.
“It’s clear we’re not speaking the same language.”
Bettman said he was still hopeful the league can have a full season, but time is running out to make that happen.
“I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing,” he said. “To the contrary, I view the proposal made by the players’ association in many ways a step backward.”
Bettman said Tuesday that the sides would have to reach an agreement by Oct. 25 for a full season to be played.
“We came in here today with those proposals thinking that we could really make some progress,” Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby said. “To hear those words (from Bettman) kind of shuts it down pretty quickly. In a nutshell it doesn’t look good.”
Fehr said two of the union’s proposals would have the players take a fixed amount of revenue, which would turn into an approximate 50-50 split over the term of the deal, provided league revenues continued to grow.
The third approach would be a 50-50 split, as long as the league honored all existing contracts at full value.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly disputed the union’s assessment of that offer.
“The so called 50-50 deal, plus honoring current contracts proposed by the NHL Players’ Association is being misrepresented,” Daly said. “It is not a 50-50 deal. It is most likely a 56- to 57-percent deal in Year One and never gets to 50 percent during the proposed five-year term of the agreement.
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