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Thursday, September 13, 2012

NHL Issues Final Offer Before Season is Locked Out

Posted at 08:00 AM

Take it or leave it. 

That was the gist of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's statements on Wednesday afternoon, as the league prepared its final CBA offer to the players before the 2012-13 season is officially locked out as of Saturday at midnight. Completely disregarding the previous offer from the NHLPA, which Bettman claimed was not much different from their original, the NHL dropped a proposal that would decrease the players’ revenue share from 57% to 49% in the first year, and to 47% in the final (sixth) year.

While the most recent proposal is taking less money from the players' pockets as opposed to former offers, Donald Fehr and the NHLPA are still unsatisfied.

"While it is accurate, in a sense, that the owners’ proposal does not take quite as much money from the players,” Fehr told The News, "somebody might say that they’ve moved from an extraordinarily large amount to a really big amount."

Fehr did acknowledge, though, that what the players received from the league yesterday can be considered progress that will encourage positive talks from here on out, eventually leading to a resolution and the start of the next season. 

"There was some improvement today in the sense that we at least appear to be talking about the same definitions, and that’s good," Fehr said. "What we hope is that arising out of this will be dialogue that can push us the rest of the way to reach an agreement."

That agreement will obviously not come before Saturday, because what Bettman and company placed on the table on Wednesday was an ultimatum of sorts that the players are standing strong against and not giving in to. Players will have their final meetings today, as will the NHL with the Board of Governors, and while neither side has refused to meet with each other today, no further negotiating is scheduled nor expected. 

So if it weren't already, the hope is now lost. We're less than 36 hours away from the deadline set by the team owners way-back-when and this thing, officially, is not getting done. Of course, this doesn't mean that the entire 2012-13 season will automatically be lost, because hopefully the encouragement brought about today will propel talks into September and October, hopefully producing major results for a start in November - the unspoken target for the new season to begin, at least from what I've heard. 

I'd be lying to you if I said I had a remedying ending line for you, because I don't. The truth of the matter is, from a fan's perspective, this sucks. Especially for Rangers fans, who were taken on an unbelievably memorable journey last spring as the team fought to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Let's Go Knicks?

Good Lord. 


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