Glimpses of optimism in NHL talks

Glimpses of optimism in NHL talks
December 12, 2012, 2:15 pm
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Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the NHL and its players, along with federal mediators, try to hammer out an agreement that ends the league’s 88-day lockout:

Details emerge: In an exclusive interview with the Blackhawks’ Jamal Mayers, CSNChicago’s Tracey Myers uncovers some of the sticking points between the owners and players.

In the interview Mayers says the owners want a 10-year CBA with an opt-out at Year 8. Players are seeking an eight-year CBA with an opt-out at Year 6.

Mayers also says the owners want a five-year maximum on all player contracts, with a seven-year maximum on unrestricted free agents who have been with a team for more than one season. The players have agreed to an eight-year maximum length on all new deals and Mayers used the Penguins as a good example of a team that could keep its core group of superstars together if the maximum contract length is extended.

Mayers confirmed the NHL and its players have agreed on the dollar amount of the NHL’s “make whole” distribution [$300 million], but need to find a way to transition into the new agreement, which likely will allow teams to amnesty one player.

Westgarth speaks out: Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer caught up with Kings forward Kevin Westgarth today and posts a few interesting tweets from the 28-year-old veteran.

Westgarth says he believes an agreement between the NHL and its players is “getting very close. That being said it seems both sides are digging in their heels a little bit."

Westgarth also said he believes the contracting issues being discussed are far more important to the players than to the owners and that he did not take issue with the comments of Capitals veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who said the union should consider firing Don Fehr if he can not strike a deal.

“He’s completely entitled to his own opinion," Westgarth said, adding, “We're a union that represents 700 different opinions. You try to take them all into account to get to a deal you can live with."

More optimism: TSN’s Gord Miller, who is in Alberta for Team Canada’s World Junior Team tryouts, tweeted today that the “consensus among NHL management types/agents here this morning is that there will definitely be a resolution to the lockout, and soon.”