Labor talks loom over NHL offseason

With the draft, first day of free agency and development camp in the rearview mirror for most teams, the attention of the hockey world turns to the larger concern of when the 2012-13 NHL season might start.

As most of you are likely aware, the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15. While talks between the owners and players’ association are ongoing, the possibility of another work stoppage looms.

On Friday, the owners presented the first formal proposal, according to multiple reports. While it’s only an initial volley in negotiations that will take at least the next two months to hammer out, the proposal asked for sizable concessions from the players.

According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, it included five key points: Players’ hockey-related revenues would decrease from 57 percent to 46 percent; 10 seasons would be required to be eligible for unrestricted free agency; contracts would be limited to five years; entry-level contracts would increase to five years from three and salary arbitration would be abolished. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported that the league’s plan also includes redefining “hockey-related revenues” to shrink the total that the players’ percentage would come from.

For a full primer on the CBA negotiations and a breakdown of what will likely be major issues throughout the discussions check out my story that ran in Sunday’s hard-copy edition.

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