Where do we go from here?
As the NHL and NHL Players' Association resume collective bargaining talks, that is the question they're both seeking to answer.
The sides stepped away from negotiations last week with competing bids on the table and no clear road ahead. They agreed to devote sessions today and Thursday entirely to core economic issues - the area where the parties seem to have the most ground to make up.
"We are hoping that our meetings this week can serve as a jumping off point for further discussion and negotiation over the critical economic and system issues that we need to resolve in order to reach an agreement," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday.
Essentially, it's time to see how much each side is willing to move off its current position, if at all.
While a significant gap exists between the two proposals when it comes to the amount of money available to players, there is some common ground. The union's decision to keep a hard salary cap in place was an important step in the process and its willingness to accept less than 57 per cent of revenues - for three years, anyway - seemed to indicate it was trying to work with the NHL.
"We thought it was a compromise," Donald Fehr, the NHLPA's executive director, told reporters.
Even though commissioner Gary Bettman offered a cold public response to the union's "alternate view," it was clearly a step in the right direction. Are the players willing to go even further? How far will the league move off its proposal, which called for new contract restrictions and salaries based on 43 per cent of revenue?
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