NHL Lockout 2012: How NHL's Latest CBA Proposal Moves Towards a Compromise

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05:  Following a day of negotiations with the NHL Players Association, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly of the National Hockey League addresses the media at the Westin Times Square on December 5, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Has the NHL and NHLPA's inexcusably pointless and baffling staring contest at last ended in a blink?

Breaking reports Friday morning on a new offer from the NHL appear to indicate so.

Per @Eklund, who first reported the story:

More info regarding the latest new proposal here>hockeybuzz.com/blog/Eklund/NH…

— Hockey Buzz Eklund (@Eklund) December 28, 2012

The existence of the NHL's offer has since been verified by a number of top insiders, including TSN's Bob McKenzie and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

ESPN now reporting the NHL's proposal is 300 pages long. So that's what they've been doing for two weeks...

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 28, 2012

Currently leaked details of the proposal seem promising:

Among the changes in the new proposal, the NHL adjusted its max contract length from 5 to 6 yrs. Boosted the variance from 5% to 10%.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 28, 2012

Also the Make Whole $$$$ stays at $300 million

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012

Previously, the owner's side, led by commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, had appeared far less lenient on those topics.

Daly was quoted on Dec. 6 as saying that the maximum contract length—then set for just five years—was a "hill we'll die on."

Meanwhile, after NHLPA leader Donald Fehr's controversial press conference that same day, Bettman told the press that the $300 million Make Whole payment was "off the table."

The increased flexibility in year-to-year salary variance, which would prevent the Ilya Kovalchuk-and Ilya Bryzgalov-type contracts of recent years, is also now at a point where both sides could be close to an agreement. 

The NHL is also looking to take a page out of the NBA's book to spice up the draft lottery, which has become increasingly irrelevant in recent years. A new policy would allow all 14 non-playoff teams a weighted shot at the No. 1 overall pick, rather than the mere five that currently would have an opportunity.

Moreover, per NBC's Ryan Dadoun, the salary cap for a 2012-13 season would be $60 million even, down $4.3 million from last season.

The #NHL has not changed the term of the CBA. They want a 10-year deal. This was a full, comprehensive offer.

— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 28, 2012

ESPN now reporting the NHL's proposal is 300 pages long. So that's what they've been doing for two weeks...

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 28, 2012

Information on Friday's proposal is still thin, however, and much of the fine print has yet to be determined.

Nonetheless, this morning's activity should, at the very least, get the process moving again. The two sides haven't met in two weeks, but that streak could very well end today:

I am told by a reliable source the NHL and NHLPA will be meeting Friday.

— Hockey Buzz Eklund (@Eklund) December 28, 2012

Traces of optimism have begun to trickle out of several top insiders' Twitter feeds, as well. Both TSN's Darren Dreger and Comcast Sportsnet's Joe Haggerty feel that the NHL's proposal could push the two sides towards an across-the-board compromise and a resulting CBA deal in the near future.

Hard to imagine the NHL's latest proposal doesn't result in potentially season-saving meetings. Players wanted flexibility and they got it.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 28, 2012

Don Fehr did job & got NHL players best deal they were going to get in ridiculous CBA process. Even when NHL kept saying it would get worse

— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) December 28, 2012

Tidbits on a pre-planned NHL agenda to conclude negotiations and get a season underway within the next few weeks are also traveling across the hockey universe. Per the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch and the Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika:

My sources say owners have privately informed Bettman cancelling the season is not an acceptable option.

— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) December 28, 2012

I'm hearing NHL has targeted Jan. 19 as potential start date. Would like week-long camp. Wants this deal done by Jan. 10, 11.

— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) December 28, 2012

Much more about the proposal and the entire state of negotiations should pour out of the airwaves throughout Friday afternoon and evening.


Mark Jones has been a Bleacher Report featured columnist since 2009. He has written more than 440 articles and received over 775,000 reads. 

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