The NHL and the players association met for more than three hours Sunday morning in New York to discuss aspects of the proposed collective-bargaining agreement the league had presented to the union late Thursday, but the sides parted without holding a formal negotiating session.
They are expected to reconvene in New York on Monday, with the NHLPA likely to respond in the form of a counterproposal.
The NHL’s extensive proposal came with a deadline set by Commissioner Gary Bettman of completing a new collective-bargaining agreement in time for training camps to open Jan. 12 and an abbreviated schedule to start Jan. 19 or else the entire 2012-13 season would be canceled.
In that proposal the league showed some flexibility toward the players’ stance on contracting rights but remained set on a 10-year labor deal with an "out" clause after eight years. The NHL had previously proposed limiting contracts to five years, with an exception of seven years for teams to resign their own free agents, but in its last offer changed that to a six-year limit with that seven-year exception.
The NHL also, for the first time, proposed permitting one contract buyout before the 2013-14 season in order to help teams get under a proposed $60-million salary cap for that season. The buyout wouldn’t count against the team’s cap but would count against players’ share of hockey-related revenues. The league also left its $300-million “make whole” or transitional payment in its proposal and agreed to a year-to-year variance of 10% in the value of contracts, up from its previously proposed 5% limit.
Also still in play is the NHLPA’s decision on whether it will dissolve as a union through a disclaimer of interest. Players voted to allow their executive board to make that move, which must occur by Wednesday.
And for those who didn’t stay up until 4 a.m. Pacific time to watch the World Junior Championships, Team Canada beat Team USA, 2-1, in a preliminary-round matchup. U.S. goalie John Gibson, a Ducks prospect, had an outstanding performance but the U.S. was nervous early and didn’t mount much offensive pressure until late in the game.
“We had our opportunities to tie or win the game,” Coach Phil Housley told usahockey.com. “We have to eliminate our mistakes, and that includes penalties. Thankfully, our penalty killers stayed composed and were great tonight. In net, John Gibson certainly kept us in the game. Now, we have to regroup and get ready for Slovakia” on Monday.
The U.S.-Slovakia game will air on the NHL network and will be streamed live at nhl.com at 2 a.m. PST on Monday.