After weeks of no talking and finger-pointing the NHL finally granted players what they wanted: a damned proposal. Over the past couple weeks the players have bitched about giving and not receiving in these negotiations. Then, with the vote passed by a mass majority for the players to dissolve from the union ( a huge negotiation tactic) the NHL finally gave a counter proposal, adjusting the hill they would die on regarding free agency contract lengths.
The NHL's proposal can be seen here
Apparently the NHLPA submitted a counter-offer on Monday and the two sides will talk more today. With January 11, or whatever, as the deadline for a deal to be struck to save any remnants of a season, we will see a lot of back and forth from both sides. It all really does hang by a thread. At least Gary Bettman didn't shit a brick on Monday. At least Donald Fehr put a gag order on the players. These are serious times. The last thing we need to see is over-frustration be posed in front of the media. Sit down...talk this out and make a deal and shut the f*ck up.
One thing that really grinds my gears is the NHL's desire to knock the salary cap down from $70.2 million to $60 million for the 2013-14 season. I just don't see how that is going to fly with the NHLPA. How is that going to work for the Canucks? Not well I assure you. The conditional buy-out option is cool make no mistake, however that drop in cap space is nuts.
Is Bettman's lack of a meltdown a sign of good things to come, as ESPN suggests? NO. That is a stretch. These negotiations have taught us to not trust anyone.
The times are delicate. I think there is a solid chance that today's events will dictate the season. As said earlier, if one side gives a hissy fit and backs off then we have a problem. But logic suggests that this is a bargaining situation and that the answer lies in the middle somewhere....somehow.
Neither Bettman nor Fehr were about to predict what is to come in these negotiations yesterday. Nor should you. But at least we are in the final stretch of this damned shit show.