NHL labor talks resumed Monday night. So did the frustration.
The league and the NHL Players’ Association met in New York at the union’s request, but no new proposals were made. The NHL is urging the players to submit a complete offer if they want to move forward in attempts to end the lockout.
The sides are expected to talk again today, but NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly is not sure if the union will provide a new proposal this week.
“I’m frustrated,” Daly told reporters in Manhattan.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said the union tried to talk about player contracting issues, one of the other stumbling blocks to a collective bargaining agreement, but was rebuffed. Daly told reporters the league needs clarity on splitting revenues before it will move to contract debates.
The union’s previous offers included a guaranteed dollar amount going to the players rather than a fixed percentage of revenue. Daly said the NHLPA must change its approach in the next proposal.
“If their proposal continues to be a guaranteed amount of players’ share dollars we have told them that sitting here on Nov. 19 that’s not a proposal that is acceptable to us or would ever be acceptable to our owners right now,” Daly told reporters.
Under the previous CBA, players were set to receive $1.88 billion this season, which equated to 57 percent of revenues. The NHLPA has sought to retain that total, plus 1.75 percent.
The league is steadfast in its desire for a 50-50 split, and it is not willing to agree to a set dollar amount because it is unsure how much revenues will fall due to game cancellations and backlash from fans and sponsors.
The gathering, which was the first since Nov. 11, was a large one. The league was represented by Daly, Commissioner Gary Bettman, owners Jeremy Jacobs (Boston), Ted Leonsis (Washington) and Murray Edwards (Calgary), Toronto General Manager Brian Burke and legal adviser Bob Batterman.
The union, meanwhile, sent a 20-person contingent into the meeting. Eighteen players, including Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, Marion Gaborik and Brooks Orpik, joined Fehr and his brother, special counsel Steve Fehr.
The lockout, which has already caused the cancellation of 327 games through Nov. 30, will claim a high-profile exhibition contest today. One of the league’s big sponsors, Kraft Canada, is reportedly set to pull the plug on Hockeyville 2013.
The annual preseason game features two NHL teams playing in a small Canadian town, and it is accompanied by a donation to upgrade the community’s rink. The Sabres were part of the promotion twice, playing in 2008 in Roberval, Quebec, and in 2010 in Dundas, Ont.
This year’s game was canceled because of the lockout, though the NHLPA staged a charity event in its place. Kraft will reportedly donate $1 million to minor hockey throughout Canada instead of conducting the 2013 game.
Meanwhile, former Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who served as Buffalo’s captain during the 2007-08 season, has announced his retirement in his native Czech Republic, according to Isport.blesk.cz.
Spacek spent three seasons with the Sabres after signing as a free agent in 2006. He recorded 22 goals and 98 points in 205 games with Buffalo.
The 38-year-old defenseman finished last season in Carolina after a trade from Montreal. He also played for Florida, Chicago, Columbus and Edmonton during his 13-year NHL career.