After more than a month of little to no progress in the negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a step was taken by the NHL today that could be the real beginning of negotiations that will lead toward a new deal.
The NHL made a proposal to the NHLPA on Tuesday morning that reportedly offered a 50/50 split in hockey-related revenue. Also, there is reportedly no salary rollback in the NHL's new proposal, which is something that the players will like.
This is a good starting point for continued conversation between the two sides, but it is highly unlikely that the NHLPA will accept the new proposal by the NHL as is. There are still many issues, like accepting a 50/50 split and lengths of contracts, that the NHLPA will probably want to swing more in their favor. However, this new proposal by the NHL goes a long way toward swaying public opinion.
Tuesday's proposal by the NHL shows how much pressure they are feeling to have an 82-game season. Their goal is to start the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2.
Donald Fehr and the NHLPA now have to make a decision and more than likely present a counter-proposal. Once that happens, we will start to get an idea of how significant this new development is toward bringing the lockout to an end.
The entire process of these CBA negotiations is complicated. There are a lot of figures and percentages to try and evaluate and figure out what amount of money goes where. In the long run, the fans really don't care about any of that stuff. They care about getting the players back on the ice and getting the season underway. While this new proposal by the NHL is by no means the end of the lockout, it certainly is a positive step toward making that happen after weeks of inactivity by both sides.