NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association resumed negotiations toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in New York on Tuesday with a lengthy, full-committee session, followed by sub-committee meetings among smaller groups.
Among the discussion points in the full session, which lasted approximately 4-1/2 hours at the NHL's Manhattan office, was a more thorough explanation by the League of the revenue-sharing feature of the proposal it made July 13, which is patterned after the revenue-sharing system that exists in the current CBA.
The current deal expires Sept. 15.
"In our initial proposals that we made on July 13 we had indicated certain modifications that we wanted to make, and the Players' Association asked us to give them more detail in the context of them accepting our initial proposal, how it would all work together," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We did that."
The League also made additional proposals this past Wednesday in Toronto regarding the "nuts and bolts" of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. These topics included the grievance process, training camp policies, injuries, medical care, roster moves, and communication between the League and the PA.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said before his side contemplates its next move -- which will likely be a counteroffer to the NHL's submission or a proposal of its own -- it first needs to study the details of the NHL's full submission, including the addition of the revenue-sharing model.
Fehr also said the Players' Association is still waiting to receive some of the financial information it requested from the NHL.
The League has already handed over 76,000 pages of requested materials, Commissioner Bettman said Tuesday.
Commissioner Bettman confirmed there is more information to be delivered to the PA, but he added the Players' Association has already been receiving financial information on a regular basis for the past seven years and the League delivered a substantial information package, focused on finances, five months ago.
"They have asked for an exhaustive amount of information," Commissioner Bettman said. "We think they have plenty of financial information. They've had it on an ongoing basis as a union for years; but, having said that, we are doing our best to comply with all of their requests for information -- whether or not we think they are relevant, as quickly as possible.
"But, as you can understand, if we have produced 76,000 pages in a short period of time and we're gathering it from the 30 clubs and the League office, there is a lot of work to do in a short period of time."
Fehr said the PA has just begun to digest the information the NHL produced Monday.
In addition to the NHL completing its proposal Tuesday, Fehr said the full committee meeting included discussion on how the players feel about the NHL's proposals to modify player contracts. The NHL's proposals made July 13 reportedly include an increase in the eligibility for unrestricted free agency from seven years in the League to 10 years, a five-year term limit on contracts, and the elimination of salary arbitration.
"We let them know that as a general matter, players are not enamored with the proposals they made that would restrict player bargaining power on individual contracts," Fehr said.
Following the full committee negotiating session, representatives from the PA and the NHL met in sub-committees. Fehr departed after the full session because he was flying Tuesday night to meet with the NHL players in Europe.
Additional sub-committee meetings are scheduled for Wednesday at the League's offices.
In the negotiating session Tuesday, The NHL was represented by Commissioner Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke, Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford, and legal counsel.
The NHLPA was represented by Fehr, Special Counsel Steve Fehr, General Counsel Don Zavello, Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider, Director of Operations Alex Dagg, and 11 players: Craig Adams (Penguins), Dan Cleary (Red Wings), B.J. Crombeen (Lightning), Mathieu Darche (unrestricted free agent), Shawn Horcoff (Oilers), Steve Montador (Blackhawks), George Parros (Panthers), Cory Schneider (Canucks), Kevin Westgarth (Kings), Ryan Whitney (Oilers) and Keith Yandle (Coyotes).
Crombeen, Darche, Parros, Schneider and Westgarth were part of the sub-committee sessions in the afternoon.
"All of our proposals are on the table," Commissioner Bettman said. "I believe there is ample time to make a deal by Sept. 15."
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