NHLPA to counter NHL CBA offer by Friday: Sides split on difference between salary rollback, escrow

CALGARY AB CANADA - AUGUST 4: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the media at the NHL Heritage Classic Press Conference at McMahon Stadium on August 4 2010 in Calgary Alberta Canada. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)

(SB Nation) -- The NHLPA intends to respond directly to the owner's CBA proposal by Friday at the latest, and while it's progress that the NHL and its players' union are at least discussing the same proposal, differences clearly remain around core economic issues.

While the owners' proposal doesn't call for a direct roll back in player salaries, it does call for more dollars in escrow. Fehr and the NHLPA don't see the difference.

"From a players' standpoint," Fehr said, "it doesn't make much difference. If the player doesn't get the dollar value of his contract because of a roll back in the contract, or whether he doesn't get an amount because there's escrow, he still doesn't get it. It amounts to the same thing. That's obviously one of the issues which has occurred in the other cap sports and it's going to have to be, in some fashion, addressed as we go forward here."

Gary Bettman doesn't necessarily agree with that, calling a roll back "different than escrow" in that it changes contract terms for the life of the deal while in escrow, a contract's value can fluctuate.

Fehr talked at length about the different calculations of hockey-related revenue, and how the current NHL proposal would cut the players' share to 46 percent of revenues, amounting to somewhere near $360 milllion in total losses for the players. That's an increase from the 43 percent proposed by the league in their first proposal.

Bettman, meanwhile, doubled down on the league's latest offer, echoing the sentiment expressed Tuesday that it was a significant proposal made in good faith.

"Our counter-proposal was more significant that the NHLPA proposal," Bettman said. "The counter-proposal moved more money than the initial proposal made by the players' association."

The new proposal, according to Bettman, reduces the players' share of hockey-related revenue by 11.5 percent in Year 1, 8.5 percent in Year 2 and 5.5 percent in Year 3. The league believes that their offer will result in a rise in the players' share in Years 4 and beyond.

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