NEW YORK – CBA talks will continue in New York today with the hockey world intently watching.
Tuesday’s seven-hour session resulted in both the NHL and NHLPA emerging with little to offer in terms of characterizing the discussions.
Player contracting issues, age of free agency and length of contracts among other points, was the focus on Tuesday. Today’s negotiations set to begin at 1 p.m. at an undisclosed location will focus on the make-whole proposition.
Reports from Tuesday’s session suggest the two sides did not conclude or come to full agreement on any contracting rights issues but now have a clear understanding of each side’s position and where there is potential for give and take. If they can come to agreement on make-whole, the two sides would then revisit contracting issues. If one side gives on make-whole, they can expect a little bit of a get on the contracting issues.
"The player contracting rights are very important to them obviously," said NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, before Tuesday’s talks and adding that the "make-whole" proposition is not the only issue needing to be solved.
The sides have agreed to split hockey related revenue down the middle but the players want contracts signed under their previous share of 57 per cent to be paid to the full dollar amount. The league originally proposed a mechanism that guaranteed those dollars through a deferment program that would eventually take those funds from the earning potential of future players.
Last week as the league cancelled the Winter Classic it also leaked the news they would be willing to fund the make-whole mostly out of their end.
"It depends on what (make-whole) appears to be," said Fehr. "Obviously, to the extent that the players can achieve the not going backwards that will be significant. It doesn't end the matter, there are still other things that are important."
The players want to see the league’s make-whole mechanism on paper and determine if it is precisely what the NHL has discussed.
Discussions on Tuesday centred around the four main negotiators, Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the Fehr brothers Don and Steve, in one room and owners and players in two others.
Today's meeting will also be closed to the media. Daly and Steve Fehr were expected to talk early today to discuss a time and place and get the two sides back in a room.