NHL talks reach breaking point

NHL talks reach breaking point
December 5, 2012, 6:45 pm
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Chuck Gormley updates NHL lockout negotiations

The same group of six owners and 18 players that made significant progress in NHL labor talks on Tuesday was back at the bargaining table Wednesday afternoon, with talks on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement expected to extend well into the night.

“We are pleased with the process that is ongoing and out of respect for the process, I'm not going to take any questions,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters following the league’s Board of Governors meeting in New York.

The players reportedly have crafted a new proposal for the owners to contemplate. Members of the NHL Board of Governors shared the optimism that was expressed by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr on Tuesday.

“Everyone is feeling positive,” one team executive who attended Wednesday’s Board of Governors meeting told CSNWashington.com. “It is amazing how quickly you can get your hopes up.”

It is also amazing how quickly those hopes have been dashed at other times during the NHL’s lockout, now in its 81st day.

Toronto Maple Leafs owner Larry Tanenbaum, one of the six owners involved in the most recent round of talks, told reporters the league is determined to salvage a shortened season, which likely would consist of between 50 and 60 games.

“We’re going to continue to talk until we get a deal, and that’s all I’m going to say,” Tanenbaum said.

There have been reports that the NHL is seeking a 10-year agreement, far more than the recent five-year proposal by the players.

The biggest issue remains the $182 million that separates the two sides on the owners’ “make whole” provision, which was crafted in an attempt to honor players’ current contracts.

If the two sides can come to a settlement over the next few days, the hope is to begin a shortened season on the final weekend of December.