Slowly but surely, information continues to trickle out of the ongoing meetings in New York between the NHL and the union.
They have been meeting seemingly non-stop since Tuesday (following an all-day meeting on Saturday) with nary a word coming from either side during the first few days. It wasn't long before the reporters hanging around started to get wind of not only where they are holding these secret meetings but what's being discussed.
What, in particular was being discussed? Well, the NHLPA reportedly made some concrete offers to the NHL on Wednesday, according to Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press.
I'm told the NHLPA made offers yesterday on both revenue sharing and players' share/make whole. They expect a response from NHL today.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 8, 2012
Considering those are the two biggest points of contention, it's very interesting to know there were more offers made on these topics. Now we can see why so many are labeling this week as a massive point in these negotiations.
The question is how different are these proposals from what was already on the table? You'll recall the league had proposed an immediate drop to a 50/50 split by way of a "make-whole" provision, which they were willing to discuss. The league proposed a gradual shift to 50/50, making sure all contracts already signed were honored.
The NHLPA went a little of column A, a little of column B. From Michael Grange of Sportsnet:
The NHLPA's proposal on 'make whole' sees HRR split get to 50/50 in yr 3, I'm told. #NHL Meetings are ongoing.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) November 8, 2012
Here's what I don't get. Why would you need a make-whole provision if you're delaying the 50/50 split until Year 3? The only way that it seems to make it worthwhile for the owners is if the first two years still see a big reduction in the players' salaries, much closer to the 50/50 mark than where they started last offer. Otherwise, it wouldn't seem to be worthwhile.
The not-so-good news about it? Michael Russo said the NHL wasn't thrilled, as you would probably expect.
If you're following others, you now know why I tweeted Wed. "didn't end well" @ NHL/NHLPA mtg. PA made player-share proposal NHL didn't like— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) November 8, 2012
This is exactly why we have warned that any optimism should come with a guard up. They are talking and hopefully trying to hammer out the differences, so it's still sounding good in that regard (and they are having another extended meeting on Thursday), but perhaps we're still not as close as we all hope. Or it's just continued negotiating tactics, the give-and-take of such talks.
It's undeniable, though, that we're at least getting closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, you have to wonder about this recent return of leaking details to the media. If you believe silence is golden, then this burst of info coming down might not be a good sign. Take that for what you will.