NHL, union talk again _ but not about money

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 4:50 am •  Published: October 12, 2012
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"There are still a few things to work out," NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said. "That is not the core issue, obviously. If we had everything else settled, we could go back to work and solve the remaining issues in six hours if we had to."

Last week, the NHL canceled — at least temporarily — 82 games from Thursday through Oct. 24.

Daly estimated the NHL lost $100 million from the cancellation of the entire preseason and would be out another $140 million to $150 million with the regular-season losses. He wouldn't speculate when more games would be trimmed from the schedule or how long it would take to get the league up and running if a deal is finally reached.

"It's a disappointment. There is no way around that," Daly said. "I certainly hoped and would have expected we would be in a different place today. I would've expected we would've had an agreement, I would've expected we would have been dropping the puck.

"In retrospect, I look back at it, and while we were all hopeful during the course of the summer that there was plenty of time to get a deal done, maybe the fault lies in the fact that we didn't start negotiations until June 29. That goes back to the level of urgency maybe with the players' association and not being prepared to have those discussions."

The NHL still says it is waiting for a new proposal from the union, with the owners adamant players accept a significant drop from the 57 percent of revenue they received under the salary cap in the last contract. The players don't want what they consider massive cuts at a time when the overall revenue pot reached record numbers ($3.3 billion) last year.

"For most of the last few weeks, unless it was on their terms, unless we've had a proposal they don't seem very interested in discussing the core economics," Steve Fehr said. "Let's keep in mind that they are the ones who started this with a request for a 24 percent rollback, which they've inched back a little, in addition to putting proposals on the table that would severely limit and curtail player contracting rights which had the predictable result of provoking players.

"It is further compounded by their strategy of first lock out and then see what happens. That is why we are in this mess today."

Daly disagreed.

"We've been down that road a couple of times and it continues to be our belief the union has made one meaningful proposal in this entire process — that was on Aug. 14. Now they have made it three times, and they are suggesting that it is three different proposals. It wasn't," he said. "Bottom line is it is difficult to understand why we should make a third proposal in their direction.

"At some point we've got to see a willingness from the players' association to compromise because they haven't shown any willingness to compromise."