Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/01/13 at 11:06 PM ET
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“It’s not something we’re focused on,” Bettman said when asked if the league is feeling any pressure over the disclaimer.
Word trickled out Tuesday from some players that Bettman and his negotiating team seemed a little more approachable in this session, although there were a couple of unexpected hiccups on the topic of pensions. Indeed, it was a rare move in the players’ direction by the owners last week in a new offer that re-started the talks, which broke off in anger on Dec. 13.
Both sides concede they are close to an agreement on revenue-sharing, which will see the league’s wealthier teams contribute to a $200-million (all currency U.S.) fund that will be shared by the smaller-revenue teams. It was thought they were also close on the league’s offer to create a defined-benefit pension plan, a rare move by businesses these days, but some additional demands by the owners on Tuesday stalled this topic. The players know they will be giving up a lot, mostly in their share of revenue, in this collective agreement, so they are resisting the NHL’s demands, at least for now, on the pension plan.
The little information that came out Tuesday was that each side felt “cautiously optimistic,” a term that has been used far too often in this dispute, a deal could be reached. But this came with a caution that a lot of work remains to be done if a 48-game season can be salvaged, as shown by the pension issue.
One good sign was that both the NHL and the NHLPA shut off their leaks to the media. Neither side wanted to do anything to jeopardize the faint signs of progress.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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