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NHL owners reject three players CBA proposals

TORONTO — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman received three counterproposals for a new labor deal from the players association Thursday and left the negotiating table "thoroughly disappointed."

Union executive director Donald Fehr had a similar view.

"This is not a good day. It should have been," Fehr said.

After meeting for an hour at union headquarters, the sides left showing no outward optimism the lockout, in its 34th day today, is close to ending. The league, which previously canceled the first two weeks of the season, was expected to cancel more games today.

Bettman said the sides still were far apart. The NHL's offer Tuesday that called for an 82-game season and a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue, the issue at the core of the trouble, was the "best that we could do."

The players received 57 percent of revenue in the labor deal that expired last month.

"None of the three variations of player share (of revenue) that they gave us (Thursday) even began to approach 50-50, either at all or for some long period of time," said Bettman, who was joined at the meeting by deputy commissioner Bill Daly and four owners: the Capitals' Ted Leonsis, the Flames' Murray Edwards, the Bruins' Jeremy Jacobs and the Wild's Craig Leipold.

"It's clear we're not speaking the same language," Bettman said.

Bettman said he was still hopeful the league can have a full season, but time is running out to make that happen. He said Tuesday that the sides would have to reach an agreement by Oct. 25 for 82 games to be played.

"I am concerned based on the proposal that was made (Thursday) that things are not progressing," he said. "To the contrary, I view the proposal … in many ways a step backward."

The Penguins' Sidney Crosby, one of 18 players with Fehr at the meeting, said Bettman and the owners rejected the union's proposals in 10 minutes.

"We came in here today with those proposals thinking that we could really make some progress," he said. "To hear those words (from Bettman) kind of shuts it down pretty quickly. In a nutshell, it doesn't look good."

Agreeing was the Lightning's B.J. Crombeen, a member of the union's negotiating committee.

"We made a significant proposal that we thought would get a deal done," he said. "All lead to 50-50 in different ways, so if (the owners are) stuck on their proposal, we could miss significant time."

This is what the players offered:

• The first option had a fixed player share of revenue that would be a number they would negotiate for this year and each of the next two years. In three years after that, there would be options for how much the share would be depending on revenue growth.

• The second was to take the league's projection that there would be 5 percent growth and have the players receive a 24.7 percent share for five years. That would decrease the players' share to 50 percent in the fifth year of the deal.

• The third was a 50-50 split the players would agree to immediately, but they would ask for current contracts to be honored.

Daly disputed the union's assessment of the third offer.

"In effect, the union is proposing to change the accounting rules to be able to say '50-50,' when in reality it is not," he said. "The union told us that they had not yet 'run the numbers.' We did."

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

NHL owners reject three players CBA proposals 10/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:38pm]
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