OK, Caps fans. It may be time to start brushing up on those Hershey Bears.
When talks between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and union boss Donald Fehr grinded to a halt on Friday it became clear that a new collective bargaining agreement before Sept. 15 is extremely unlikely.
And that almost certainly signals another work stoppage for the NHL.
Once we get past Sept. 15, I think the dynamic changes, Bettman said Friday after the players union failed to move much from their initial Aug. 13 proposal.
The damage to the business changes the dynamic of the negotiation. So, from our standpoint, were hoping to make a deal by Sept. 15. Thats how weve positioned the offers weve made. And Im hopeful that it can still be done. There is enough time if there is a willingness to negotiate.
Right now, there is no willingness to negotiate and talks have been suspended indefinitely. Or, in the words of Bettman, When either of us has something to say, well pick up the phone.
Essentially, NHL owners have made two offers to the players. The first, a five-year proposal made on July 13, had players share of league revenues dropping from its current 57 percent to 43 percent.
The second proposal, a six-year deal made on Tuesday, increased the players take of league revenues from 43 percent to 46 percent.
The unions initial proposal was made on Aug. 14 and called for a fixed rate of salary increases, starting at 2 percent in 2012-13 and increasing to 4 percent the following year and 6 percent in the third year before snapping back to its current 57 percent revenue share in the fourth year.
On Friday, Fehr said the NHL balked at the unions initial plan, especially at reverting back to a 57 percent share in the fourth year, so the union agreed to lower their share below 57 percent in the fourth year of the deal.
Bettman called Fehrs proposal more of a response than a counter-proposal and the talks grinded to a halt.
The players are looking for lots of things, which I think with the right economics we would be more than prepared to do to make their life as good, even better than it is now, Bettman said.
But were not in the position until we know the economics -- certainly in light of the fact that we in effect got stonewalled today -- to be moving forward on other things.