Lawyers from the NHL and its players’ association had an informational meeting in New York on Sunday before representatives from the NHLPA took details from the NHL’s proposal back to its negotiating committee.
There are no formal discussions scheduled between the two sides but they are expected to resume on Monday or Wednesday in New York. The NHL has set a Jan. 11 deadline for a deal, which would allow training camps to open on Jan. 12 and a 48-game regular season to begin no later than Jan. 19.
Although the parameters of a deal are in place, NHLPA executive director Don Fehr is a very deliberate negotiator and there is no reason to think that will change as the league and its players move closer to an agreement.
Fehr’s mission over the next 12 days is to push next year’s salary cap above the $60 million that has been established by the NHL. The higher Fehr can get that cap, the less money players will need to put in escrow accounts.
The players might also make a request to play one or two exhibition games before the regular season opens. It would be up to individual teams to decide whether to offer those games free to season ticket holders.
If the NHL is able to end the 106-day lockout by Jan. 11, players in Europe like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom would need to either leave their teams early to begin training camp or arrive a few days after they begin.