Tuesday, February 15, 2005

24 Hours for a Deal

Gary Bettman's press conference to cancel the NHL season will begin in exactly 24 hours. Not only is the NHL season in danger, but the very future of the league and the sport is at risk. But now, finally, we are seeing some progress.

Last night Bill Daly and Ted Saskin met in secret in Niagara Falls. There, for the first time ever, Saskin made an offer which included a hard salary cap. The NHLPA made a huge concession, offering a hard cap of $52M. The offer also included a series of luxury taxes, beginning at 25% for $40-44M, 50% on $44-48M and 75% on payrolls from $48-52M. Teams would also be allowed to go over the cap three times during the next six years, but would have to pay a 150% luxury tax on payrolls over $52M.

The league rejected the proposal, countering with their own offer with a hard cap $40M. The offer also included a luxury tax of 50% on payrolls fro $34-40M.

TSN reported that there would be more talks today, and Eklund claims he has information indicating talks resumed at 11am today.

TSN is also reporting that the NHL is unwilling to negotiate the $52M figure unless the league puts forth a revenue sharing plan. Meanwhile, the league may not be willing to go much higher than the $40M figure they proposed.

The simple fact of the matter is that after months of complete failure, we are now very close to a deal. Twelve million dollars apart. Twenty-four hours to negotiate. A league and a sport on the line. A nation waiting with bated breath.

Let's get this done.

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