NHL Calls Locksmith, Submits 50-50 Proposal To NHLPA

The NHL submitted their latest proposal today to the NHLPA, promoting a 50/50 split between the owners and players in regards to hockey related revenue, which might become the major turning point in the current labor negotiations. (Photo Credit: Lighthouse_li/Flickr)

To make this proposal even more intriguing, this year's season would still  be based on 82-games with the 2012-2013 season starting on November 2nd. Bettman's original request was for the player's percentage to be dropped from 57% to 47%. Up until today, splitting the revenue 50-50 did not seem to be in the cards for the Commissioner of the NHL. 

It was reported by TSN that Deadspin revealed that the league had hired the research market firm, Luntz Global to conduct a focus group yesterday to find a better way to get the league's message across after examining the fans' reaction to the lockout. Whether or not this had a major effect on today's news is uncertain, but it might have given the NHL that extra push that they needed to get a deal done.

And now, for the first time in months, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

Per TSN:

"We have about nine or 10 days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered, in order for this offer to be effective and for us to move forward," said Bettman.

In regards to keeping an 82-game schedule despite starting about a month late, Bettman claimed that each team would have one extra game every five weeks to make up for the lost time which would ensure playoff hockey in June.  

In addition to the revenue sharing and hockey schedule, the owners are also looking to put a limit on contract length, only allowing players to sign deals as long as five years.

There has been some early speculation on Twitter that the NHLPA is going to reject this proposal. As a bystander, I would say that this doesn't surprise me. But that doesn't mean a deal isn't close to being finalized.

The NHLPA might not find every detail of this proposal to be perfect, as Union representative Donald Fehr already stated (per ESPN) that the NHL's latest proposal "is not short, and there were some explanatory documents that we still have to wade through." However, he does seem intrigued about the new deal, as he expects it to be a "starting point" where the NHLPA "can go forward and see if there is a deal to be made."

Keeping that in mind, it is very likely that the players will have some adjustments that they will bring up in future negotiations. At this time, there are not any scheduled meeting between the two sides. But in light of the recent developments, Fehr also claimed that the two sides will probably meet again "sooner rather than later."

The NHLPA was scheduled to discuss the latest proposal in a phone conference at 5 PM today.

Teams that were looking to benefit from the lockout, (potentially like the New York Islanders) by helping other organizations meet a possibly lower salary cap, would have to work quickly to fill any holes that they think their team might have.

Furthermore, if this were to be accepted and put in place over the next week or so, players in Europe would have to hurry back to North America to rejoin their NHL squads. Owners, General Managers, and coaches would have to quickly put together a one-week training camp before the season opener as well. Suffice to say, the start of the 2012-2013 season would be anything but simple.

But it would mean hockey. And that's all that matters.

-Rob McGowan

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