Updated: December 28, 2012 2:22PM
With the clock ticking down to zero hour, and both sides taking to the courts in recent weeks, the NHL finally made a new proposal to the players association on Thursday — one that makes some concessions in the hopes of ending the 104-day lockout and salvaging a shortened season.
“I can confirm that we delivered to the union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.”
An ESPN.com report said the league upped its proposed player contract term limits from five years to six years (seven, if a player is re-signing with his own team), doubled the year-to-year salary variance from 5 percent to 10 percent, and allowed each team one amnesty buyout before next season that won’t count against the salary cap. The proposal is for a 10-year contract, with each side able to opt out after eight years.
Multiple reports said the NHL wants an abridged training camp to open by Jan. 12, with the season beginning on Jan. 18 or 19.
The players association has yet to comment on the new proposal.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that anything less than a 48-game schedule wouldn’t have enough “integrity” to be worth playing, so time is running out. All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, as have the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium and the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. In 1995, the lockout ended on Jan. 11, with the 48-game schedule — with every game coming against conference pponents — beginning on Jan. 20 and running through May 3, about a month later than usual.
In 2004-05, the league waited until mid-February before canceling the entire eason, becoming the first North American professional sports league to do so over a labor dispute.
The two sides haven’t met since Dec. 13. Since then, the NHL has a filed suit in U.S. District Court to prove the lockout’s legality, while the players association
— which has taken steps to break up the union and become a trade association
so it can file anti-trust lawsuits — filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.