Times Square is full of anticipation. Yes, nearly all of it is for the New Year's ball drop, but the NHL labor talks will resume there, too.
The sides held several conference calls over the weekend after the league made a new CBA proposal Thursday night. The NHL Players' Association is expected to make a counteroffer when the sides meet early this afternoon.
The union's response will dictate how talks go. If they tweak the NHL's offer, there could be quality conversations. If they offer a wildly different proposal, the NHL could again become exasperated and break off talks.
It's been reported the drop-dead date to start the season is Jan. 19, which leaves the sides only about a week or so to negotiate when training camp, legal chatter and voting on the CBA are factored in.
Highlights of the NHL's offer, courtesy of TSN.ca, include:
*50-50 revenue split.
*10-year term, including an option after eight years.
*Six-year limit on contracts (seven if a team re-signs a player).
*10 percent yearly variance on salaries.
*Salary cap of $70.2 million this season, but clubs must come into compliance with $60 million upper limit for the start of the 2013/14 season.
*$300 million in "make whole" payments.
*One "Compliance Buy-Out" prior to the 2013/14 season pursuant to which payments made to the player will not be charged against the team's cap, but will be charged against the players' share of revenues.
*"Cap Advantage Recapture" formula applicable to existing long-term contracts (in excess of 6 years) for years in which player is retired or fails/refuses to perform under his NHL SPC.
*Ability for clubs to retain/allocate salary and cap charges in the context of player trades within specified parameters.
*Adding Dec. 26 to Christmas break, giving players off Dec. 24-26.