SBD/Morning Buzz

NHL Labor Talks: Union Not Ready To Respond To League Offer

The NHL and NHLPA will meet again today in N.Y. after the two sides met for two and a half hours yesterday on the league’s most recent CBA proposal. After the meeting, the union said it was not ready to respond to the league’s outline from last week that included a reduction in the share of hockey-related revenue from 57% to 46%, among other rollbacks. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the meetings continue to be “cordial” and “constructive,” but would not discuss the specifics of yesterday’s session or the owners’ first proposal. Asked whether the league would consider staying open without a signed CBA before its Sept. 15 expiration date, Bettman said, “My focus is on getting a deal done, not on what will happen if we don’t.”

Although the proposal was criticized by some columnists and player agents, Canucks C Manny Malhotra said the NHLPA will not overreact in meetings or in the press. “No one flew off the handle,” said Malhotra. “It’s a long process.” Rangers C Brandon Dubinsky said there was no reason yet to respond to the league’s proposal, “until we get all of the information.” NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr was asked if he was concerned that the negotiations would be all about rollbacks for the players. “I hope not,” Fehr said. “We will see where that goes.” Meetings are scheduled for today and Friday in N.Y.
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