The NHLPA this morning presented a proposal to the NHL, and the league is expected to respond this afternoon. We have no idea whether this might finally lead to a new collective bargaining agreement and an end to the lockout that is more than two months along, but at the very least it's encouraging that there is a new proposal on the table.
No Penguins are among the nine NHL players at the talks in New York today, but we got some interesting feedback from Penguins captain Sidney Crosby after a practice at Southpointe.
The union has shifted away from its hard-dollar offer and switched to one based on percentages, which is what the NHL wanted. At the same time, the players are asking more from the league in its "make-whole" idea, which helps to guarantee that players get the full value of exisiting contracts even while the percent of league revenues the players get is reduced.
Crosby said NHLPA offer is a "hybrid" and represents some movement in league's direction.
"We're making a move in their direction, so I don't see why they wouldn't consider it," he said. "It's a little closer to their proposal. It's definitely something they'll have to consider, or they should at least."
"What we want back on the make-whole is not even close to what we're putting on the table, everything combined. We wanted progress, but it takes both sides. They're going to have to move a little bit, too. It just shows we all want to play."
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said the players' proposal brings the sides to within $182 million of each other over five years. We don't know if the NHL will interpret it that way.
And that doesn't address the contract rights issues that also have been a stumbling block. The players' proposal apparently does include the contract issues.
Crosby, a superstitious guy, joked that perhaps he won't check any messages for a while, maybe not even until Thursday, because in the past when he has monitored things closely, talks have quickly ended. That's not to be confused with him not caring about today's talks. He badly wants to play.
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