TORONTO -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said the "vast bulk" of the League's proposals regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are now on the negotiating table after the League introduced additional topics Wednesday.
The new discussion points were offered during a four-hour negotiating session Wednesday between the League and the National Hockey League Players' Association at the NHLPA offices.
The NHL had put forth its principal economic package in a July 13 negotiating session in Toronto.
Commissioner Bettman described the material submitted Wednesday as "the nuts and bolts" of a new agreement.
The current CBA expires Sept. 15.
Commissioner Bettman has stressed that the League is hoping to have a new agreement in place before the expiration of the current agreement.
"Even though the Players' Association hasn't put forth any formal proposals yet, and even though they haven't responded yet to our initial proposal, we did put on [the table] a comprehensive set of proposals on the other issues beyond our initial proposal, what I'll call the nuts and bolts," Commissioner Bettman said. "So the vast bulk of our proposals are now on the table. We walked the players and Players' Association through those so-called nuts-and-bolts proposals, and the process continues."
Commissioner Bettman described the material introduced Wednesday as some of the ancillary, but still vital, elements that go into such a vast and comprehensive agreement, citing rules governing training camp and grievances as two examples.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said the proposal also addressed injuries, roster moves, communication between the League and the Players' Association, and medical care.
"There are lots of things in a multi-hundred page Collective Bargaining Agreement that go beyond the principal economic proposals," Commissioner Bettman said.
Fehr said the players are now in the process of analyzing the most recent submission. He said he does not think the League and the PA are far apart on many of the issues introduced Wednesday.
"On a lot of things I don't think there will be a big difference in opinion, Fehr said. "On some other things we have to analyze what the actual effect of moving from A to B would mean for the individual players and our staff and agents that would be working on those matters. I don't think that's a terribly long process, but it's not a five-minute turnaround either."
The NHL was represented in the meeting Wednesday by Commissioner Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, Senior Executive V.P. of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, Senior V.P. of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan, Hockey Operations Managers Rob Blake and Stephane Quintal, Minnesota owner Craig Leipold, Boston owner Jeremy Jacobs, Toronto President and GM Brian Burke, Carolina President and GM Jim Rutherford, and legal counsel.
The NHLPA was represented by Fehr, General Counsel Don Zavelo, Special Counsel Steve Fehr, Special Assistant to the Executive Director Mathieu Schneider, additional legal counsel, and four players: John Tavares (New York Islanders), Brad Boyes (New York Islanders), Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers) and Daniel Winnik (Anaheim Ducks).
The sides plan to wrap up the three consecutive days of negotiations Thursday, and Fehr said that session may involve smaller committees to "really begin to discuss the specific issues in a back-and-forth fashion and begin to see what resolutions can be reached."
Additional negotiating sessions are scheduled for next week in New York.
"Our goal is to move this process along as quickly as possible," Commissioner Bettman said.
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