By Kevin Allen at USA Today:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his negotiating team are huddled Tuesday afternoon to discuss an NHL Players’ Association proposal that would reduce players’ share of revenue by as much as $465 million while preserving the salary cap system.
“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two,” Bettman told reporters as he left the negotiating session where the NHLPA proposal was presented. “As a result, we’re going to need a little time to evaluate it, understand it and we told them that we’d go back to our offices and do that and that we would be prepared to meet again (Wednesday).”
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr provided the $465 million figure and said the proposal calls for expanded revenue sharing to help financially distressed teams. He said the players’ proposal could “stabilize the industry.”
The Canadian Press is reporting that there is a luxury tax included in the proposal that would allow some teams to go above the cap, and some to stay below.
The NHLPA proposal would call for a three years of players accepting a lower percentage of the revenue and then players have the option to revert back to their current share (57%) in the fourth year.
A large contingent of players, including Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, were present for the presentation of the NHLPA proposal.
The two sides are scheduled to meet four days this week in an effort to avoid the lockout of players on Sept. 15. Bettman has already informed the players they will be locked out if the old agreement expires without any resolution.
“I’m not going to characterize (the NHLPA proposal),” Bettman said. “I’m not going to tell you what it means because we need time to evaluate it and make sure we fully understand it.”
The NHLPA proposal was characterized by Fehr as an “alternative view” to a league proposal that called for player givebacks, plus some changes in revenue sharing. Owners want to reduce players’ share of revenue from 57% to 46% (the NHLPA says the figure is 43%), plus they would eliminate salary arbitration, limit contract lengths and keep players longer in entry-level deals and restricted free agency.