All of that “cautious optimism” created by the NHL’s 50-50 proposal on Tuesday was washed away in a one-hour meeting involving NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and players’ union chief Don Fehr on Thursday.
“I am, to say the least, thoroughly disappointed,” Bettman told reporters in Toronto after rejecting three counter proposals by the players’ union. “I don't know what the next step is. I’m obviously disappointed.”
Bettman said none of the NHL Players’ Association proposals came close to what Bettman termed the league’s “best offer” of an immediate 50-50 split in league revenue for each of the next six years.
The players, who received 57 percent of league revenue under the expired CBA, wanted to avoid immediate reductions in salary by proposing a more gradual decrease to their share of revenue. Their proposals were met with immediate resistance.
“This is the best offer that we have to make,” Bettman said, referring to the 50-50 split. “The fact is, we’re nowhere close to what we proposed.”
The lack of progress in Thursday’s talks almost certainly will result in the cancellation of more games and ruins any chances of the league salvaging a full 82-game season beginning Nov. 2, as proposed by Bettman on Tuesday.
“We were done in an hour today because there was really nothing there,” Bettman said.
“As the calendar ticks away, we're going to do more cancellations.”
Eighteen players, including Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla and Jonathan Toews, attended the meetings, along with NHL owners Ted Leonsis of the Capitals, Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins, Murray Edwards of the Flames and Craig Leipold of the Wild.