Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 9/12/12

CHICAGO - MAY 03: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks at a press conference before the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I haven’t written about hockey in a while because like most traumatic events, I’ve been trying to block out the impending lockout. Losing even one game of the Flyers’ season is something that is completely unacceptable to me.  However, the clock is ticking, and time for the NHL and NHLPA to get a deal done is running out… And quickly!

Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner long ago set Saturday September 15th as the deadline for the negotiating a new CBA. If no deal is struck by the 15th, Bettman has promised a lockout. It would be the 4th such stoppage in the NHL since 1992.

The owners made an offer today that reportedly offered the players 49% of the hockey related revenues. Their initial offer was 43%. This is a significant concession from the owners. Over the span of this proposed CBA, the players’ percent of HRR would drop to 47%. Players currently get 56% of HRR.

Additionally, the cut in player’s salaries that was originally 26% is now 9.7%.

NHLPA representative Donald Fehr and the players presented a counter proposal to the NHL that was rejected right away.

Gary Bettman made it clear that the latest proposal from the NHL will be the last one made prior to the deadline, and that points contained in it COULD be negotiated, but no other deal would discussed or accepted. Any future proposals would likely be LESS favorable to the players if you read between the lines of Bettman’s statements.

Bettman said in no uncertain terms that he wants a deal and wants a deal now.

In the meantime the players still seek a better revenue sharing program between the richest clubs of the NHL and the less wealthy teams.

The puck is in the players’ end of the ice now, and over 250 of them will gather in New York tomorrow. While an agreement is still hoped for on both sides, most players are bracing for the reality of a lockout. Some have begun to make plans to play in Europe and Russia. Tomorrow could be a deciding factor in the direction of the negotiations.

In the meantime the fate of the NHL hangs in the balance.

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