It appears the first three days of talks between the NHL and the players' association were long on time but short on breakthroughs.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr sent a memo to players following Thursday's meeting with the league, updating them on negotiations. Not much has changed.
"A significant gap remains," Fehr wrote in the memo, which was posted at TSN.ca. "We were told that the owners want an 'immediate reset' to 50/50 (which would significantly reduce the salary cap) and that their proposals to restrict crucial individual contracting rights must be agreed to. As you know, these include - among other things - losing a year of salary arbitration eligibility, allowing the team to file for salary arbitration in any year that the player can file, extending UFA eligibility to age 28 or 8 seasons, limiting contracts to 5 years, and permitting only 5% year to year variability in player contracts. Individually each is bad for players; taken together they would significantly reduce a player's bargaining power and give the owner much more leverage over a player for most if not all of his career.
"In short, the concessions on future salary we have offered (at least $948 Million to $1.25 Billion over five years, depending on HRR growth) are not enough. We are still being told that more salaries must be conceded, and that very valuable player contracting rights must be surrendered. So, while we are meeting again, and while some steps are being taken, there is still a lot of work to be done and bridges to be crossed before an agreement can be made."
The sides are conducting a series of meetings today in New York. It is the fourth straight day of talks, with the league and union having met for about 18 hours during the first three days.