Forget the two key issues in the CBA negotiations for a moment. For now, the secondary matter of player contract rights has bogged down negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA.
The sides met for maybe 90 minutes today and did not get into revenue sharing or the "make whole" topic of guaranteeing the value of current player contracts.
Instead, the sides focused on things such as contract lengths, free agency and arbitration. In exit interviews, both sides indicated they are at an impasse. The NHL apparently is unwilling to move off its long-held demands, and the players are unwilling to accept those. Because of that, union executive director Donald Fehr said he doesn't see "see a path to an agreement" right now.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, howeve,r indicated that the league moved some on 14 of 17 NHLPA contract concerns.
Pretty obviously, there's still a gap, and it seems to be on the more important contract issues.
The sides did not commit to meeting again, but could do so Monday, perhaps in Toronto, where it's Hall of Fame weekend.
As a reminder, the NHL's contract rights proposals, as outlined in Thursday's memo from Fehr to players "include -- among other things --losing a year of salary arbitration eligibility, allowing the team to file for salary arbitration in any year that the player can file, extending [unrestricted free-agency] eligibility to age 28 or eight seasons, limiting contracts to five years, and permitting only 5 percent year-to-year variability in player contracts."
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