Well here's the first good news the CBA negotiations have produced in more than a week: The two sides actually are going to talk again!
With more than a week having passed since talks were called off, all of the main constituents are on hand in New York City on Wednesday at NHL headquarters for the resumption of labor talks. Good timing, too, since the CBA is set to expire by the end of the week, meaning another lockout will be upon the NHL in a matter of days.
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Up to this point, only a couple of offers have gone back and forth in the talks and the two sides have been unable to bridge a gap the size of the Grand Canyon. Since they seemed to be getting nowhere, the talks broke off for a long recess.
With nearly 300 players going to New York to meet with the NHLPA and figure things out, what better time to resume talks than now? The NHL and NHLPA will meet sometime around noon in New York, a little delay from the originally scheduled time, but better late than never.
The pressure is on to make some real progress on reaching a deal because at this time the two sides are still very far off on splitting hockey-related revenue. The latest offer from the NHL had the players getting 46 percent, whereas the players want to maintain their 57 percent.
There's also the matter of what defines hockey-related revenue. That's been as big of a sticking point for the NHLPA as the share of the pie it receives. After all, if the pie is made smaller, one piece doesn't give you as much dessert.
What can be expected of Wednesday's meetings? Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press reported on Wednesday morning:
CBA talks will resume at NHL's NYC offices in 90 mins. League believes union will deliver an agenda/message, if not a new proposal.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 12, 2012
If there is a counter-proposal it probably won't take long for the NHLPA to reveal the pertinent details. It will be interesting to see how much the PA compromises in the offer.
I imagine by the end of the day we won't be feeling any better or more optimistic about the negotiations. But right now it's a start. At least they're going to start talking again.
Update, 11:38: On his way into the meeting, Donald Fehr told media members "We have some things to tell them today."