Are Bettman and Fehr finally "Speaking the same language"? (Dreger Update, New Cap)

"I did not save the Wild's owner from himself." Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

Bettman and Fehr held a meeting today to address the core economic issues of the new CBA. The NHL made a new proposal, which the NHLPA plans to respond to tomorrow.

After talks were over, Bettman was spinning the discussion as "significant" progress; Fehr, on the other hand, was much more guarded. Whoops, there's a disconnect there.

Did the NHL make meaningful concessions? One source says that the NHL's proposal was "basically the same as before."

Michael Grange reports that part of the NHL's new proposal had everyone gradually easing into a new revenue split instead of demanding the players take a huge paycut immediately. If the players' share of hockey related revenues (HRR) still winds up being reduced from over time, however, the players still wouldn't be very happy with this.

It looks like the two sides could still be far apart, though there are rumors that a 50/50 split might ultimately be "workable" for the owners.

UPDATE: Dreger reports new elements from the NHL's tweaked offer -- proposed salary caps, "all projected and fixed":

2012-13: $58M (down $12.2M)

2013-14: $60M

2014-15: $62M

2015-16: $64.2M

2016/17: $67.6M

2017-18: $71.1M

The cap would drop sharply then gradually rise to around its present level in 6 seasons.

What Do You Mean By Half

Even if both sides compromise and move toward 50/50 -- something many fans are impatient to see -- another point of contention is what counts as "Hockey Related Revenue" in the first place. This is why the players' association requested more financial information from the teams, and got thousands of pages of documents in their first shipment.

The players suspect that the owners aren't counting as much under "Hockey Related Revenue" as they should. The question isn't just "How are we going to cut up this pie?" but "How big of a pie is it, really?" Would a 50/50 share truly be 50/50? To them, how HRR is defined is just as important as figuring out how to split it.

It looks like the league still wants the players to take the brunt of helping small market teams, while the players would like the rich clubs to kick in.

Any bright side to this? Well, we can take a page from player rep Matthew Darche: at least the two sides are still talking.

More meetings to come. Only a couple of weeks to go.

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