When you get right down to it, the NHL wants more of its hockey related revenue than the 43 percent its getting now.
And the players, well, they want to hold onto their 57 percent.
So when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman began negotiations on July 13 by requesting the players share of the leagues 3.1 billion in revenue be shaved from 57 percent to 43 percent it was a non-starting point for the union.
On Tuesday Bettman came back with the leagues second proposal, which according to players union chief Donald Fehr, increased the players share from 43 percent to 46 percent when you factor in 11 percent salary rollbacks.
Under the NHLs latest proposal, one which will be countered by the players on Thursday or Friday, players are being asked to give back 11 percent of their 2012-13 salaries, which would set the salary cap at 58 million more than 12 million below its current rate.
Under the NHLs plan, the fixed salary cap would climb to 60 million in 2013-14 and 62 million the following the year. The players share of the leagues revenue would also climb each season, reaching a 50-50 split starting in 2015 when the salary cap would reach 71 million.
By comparison, the players latest proposal had salaries de-linked from hockey related revenue for three seasons in exchange for a fixed salary cap of 69 million next season, increasing to 71 million and 75 million. The players three-year plan would revert their share of revenue back to 57 percent in the fourth year and thats a non-starting point with the owners.
In other words there is a significant bridge that needs to be crossed if the NHL and its players want to avoid a lockout after the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.
The players now want specifics on how the NHLs new plan will directly impact small-market teams struggling to reach the salary floor. They also want a clear-cut explanation on what constitutes hockey related revenue.
The good news in all of this is that the two sides are talking in small groups and that both are willing to bend. But unless there is serious movement on both sides -- like a 50-50 split in revenue beginning next season -- the NHL and its players will be headed toward its second work stoppage in eight years.