NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has given the players union a take-it-or-leave-it offer that he hopes will avert the leagues second lockout in eight years.
Count on the players leaving it.
Following a three-hour meeting in New York with NHL Players Association executive director Donald Fehr, Bettman told reporters on Wednesday that the players most recent proposal was unacceptable and that if the players fail to agree on the leagues latest offer by late Saturday night that deal is off the table.
The leagues current CBA expires at 11:59 Saturday night and Bettman has said that if a contract is not reached by then he will lock out the leagues 700-plus players until an agreement is reached.
Bettman said his offer was a six-year deal that would give the players between 250 million and 300 million more than the owners previous proposal. He also said the players salaries would be cut by about 9.7 percent. The leagues initial proposal called for a 24 percent cut in salaries.
The players have offered a four-year deal that keeps their share of hockey-related revenue HRR close to its current 57 percent.
Bettman came to his 300 million and 9.7 percent figures, at least in part, by returning to the current definitions of what constitutes hockey-related revenue. In the NHLs previous proposal Bettman tried to re-define what constitutes HRR.
With more than 300 players in New York, including Capitals Troy Brouwer, John Carlson and Karl Alzner, the NHLPA is expected to reject the NHLs latest offer.
Still, players are holding out hope that an agreement can be reached before the end of the weekend. Rookie camps are tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, with veterans scheduled to report on Sept. 21.
Things are moving along even though it may seem like theyre not, Brouwer said Wednesday afternoon. Until we have our player meetings today and tomorrow, its really tough to tell whats going to happen. But I still think theres plenty of time to get a deal done.
A lot of things have been worked out and have progressed throughout this whole process. Were just making sure theres a fair deal for both sides. Both sides, I hope, are still optimistic that a deal can be reached in the next couple days.
Brouwer said the progress of this week's talks will determine whether he reports to Washington or returns to Chicago, where he is expecting the birth of his child in three weeks.
"If there is a season well be in Washington right away," he said. "But if there isnt, thenI think well stick in Chicago, at least until we hear otherwise."