Its original offer was to cut it to 43 percent, and an updated proposal raised it to 46 before another new offer pushed it a little higher Wednesday, the last time the sides met at the negotiating table.
The most recent proposal from the league _ with a six-year term _ came in direct response to one put forth by the union earlier Wednesday that was rejected as being similar to the players’ two previous offers.
Instead of making a percentage-based offer, the union is seeking a deal that would guarantee players annually at least the $1.8 billion in salaries paid out last season.
Bettman said the league’s latest offer would be pulled off the table once the current CBA expired because immediate damage caused by a lockout would force the NHL to reassess what it could then offer.
In the previous lockout, both sides dug in over the salary cap. Owners wouldn’t make a deal without it, and players sacrificed a full season before finally agreeing to a cost-certainty system for teams.
Without such a philosophical difference this time, the sides merely have to figure out a way to divide hockey revenues that grew from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion under the expiring deal.
On Friday, the Quebec labor relations board rejected a request from the players’ association for a temporary injunction against a potential lockout in Quebec. But the board also ruled that more hearings are needed to make a final decision on a request by 16 members of the Montreal Canadiens and the players’ association to declare a lockout illegal in the province. No date was set for those hearings.
With the ruling, Canadiens players will be locked out with their colleagues, at least for now.
Daly said in a statement the league was “extremely appreciative” of the decision.
“We are hopeful that this ruling will cause the players’ association to cease pursuing these needless distractions and instead focus all of its efforts and energies on making progress at the bargaining table,” he said.
Likewise, the union was “pleased” with the ruling because it rejected the NHL’s request to dismiss the case.
“The ruling acknowledges that the players have raised issues about the legality of the NHL’s planned lockout that require a full hearing on the merits,” union general counsel Don Zavelo said in a statement.
“We remain confident that the lockout is prohibited by the Quebec labor code and look forward to presenting our case to the commission in the near future. Should the NHL carry out its threat to lock out the players in Quebec, it will do so at its own risk.”
The NHLPA argued that because it isn’t certified as a union with the province, its members can’t be locked out under Quebec labor law.
A similar request was filed late Thursday with the Alberta labor relations board. NHLPA director of operations Alexandra Dagg said the aim was to prevent players from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames from being locked out.