It has been almost exactly a month since either the NHL or the NHLPA made an actual offer on a new collective bargaining agreement that included the economics of a deal -- the most important piece of the puzzle. The two sides have had multiple meetings since, but those meetings have mostly covered things like hotel rooms, ice conditions and drug testing.
That's been all well and good, but it won't bring us hockey any sooner.
The good news is there might be an end in sight to the economic stalemate as it looks like the sides might actually get back to talking about the elephant in the room: how to split the hockey-related revenue. From Katie Strang of ESPNNew York.com:
#CBA Bill Daly said league has been given indication PA is working on a proposal. League has urged them to make it.— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) October 10, 2012
For weeks, both sides have been pointing at the other and saying the other needs to make some concessions and the next move is their opponent's. Considering the last offer came from the NHL, its stance on the matter seemed slightly more reasoned than the NHLPA's.
It looks like the PA finally relented and, maybe once again, we'll get something to kick start the meaningful negotiations. Either that or something to keep kicking fans in their fannies.
We can make a pretty safe assumption that the next offer from the NHLPA will probably look very similar to earlier offers, which involved a slow reduction in the players' percentage of the HRR over time, dropping closer toward the 50-percent mark. But not in the first year, during which the percentage would remain the same (and thus no salary rollbacks). The question is, how far off that line will the PA go? That will tell us if we might have a few bricks built to bridge the gap.
Whether the offer will do anything to get closer to a new deal is not clear, but it's at least encouraging that one side is going to back off this staring contest and actually blink. It's tiring to hear about meetings that involve every other issue under the hockey sun, and even those talks aren't resulting in any progress.
Unfortunately, we don't know when this supposed offer will come from the PA but hopefully it's sooner rather than later. It took the union quite some time to cook up its first offer; it would be great if this one comes a lot quicker.
H/t to PHT