(UPDATE 7:55 PM)- Bettman addressed the media tonight as well and certainly did not paint as positive a picture as Fehr attempted to. He spoke about how upset the owners were with the players reaction to the latest league proposal. General sense from the Commissioner is that the Union has been constantly changing the "key" issues. Bettman says elements that were added by the league, are now off the table. Rock. Bottom.
(UPDATE 7:20 PM)- The League has apparently replied quickly to the Union's latest proposal. Fehr addressed the media a second time and said that he had received a voice mail from Bill Daly saying the response was not sufficient and either something or everything is off the table. Certainly sounds like the worst development in the negotiation to this point in time. Still need to hear from the league.
After 48 hours of words like concessions, breakthroughs and compromise, NHL fans were right to optimistic.
A group of NHL owners and players seemed to finally have this CBA mess back on track and the possibility of a season suddenly didn't seem so far fetched. Well after the latest swing in negotiations, it is hard to anticipate where the conversation goes from here.
Bill Daly and Bob Batterman were the lone representatives for the league today and after just over an hour of discussion, left to return to NHL offices with the Union's latest proposal in hand. Donald Fehr, that soul-sucking sport ruiner, spoke to the media shortly after and laid out his view of where things stand.
Fehr suggested that the gap between the two sides isn't huge. He says they believe they agree on pensions, the make whole issue, and potentially the term of the CBA (8 years with an opt out after year 6). Of course the league may not feel the same way on all those issues.
It sounded like term of player contracts is still a point of contention and possibly the biggest issue right now. The NHLPA proposal suggests that 8 years should be the maximum length of a contract.
Where things go from here is anyone's guess. The response from the league will give us a pretty good indication just how close a deal really is.
Will update the site as available.