After hopes were raised that today's meeting between the players and owners could salvage an 82-game season, the Commissioner expressed his disappointment over the NHLPA's latest proposal, which included three separate offers.
There are a host of reporters covering today's press conference, so we'll tap into ESPN's Pierre LeBrun via Twitter:
Bettman confirms NHLPA made three counter proposals. Says none of them "even began to approach 50-50." Not encouraged— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012
Bettman calls it a "step backward."— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012
"I am to say the least totally disappointed." - Bettman— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012
Bettman says today's offers "nowhere close" to what league offered Tuesday— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012
After floating an offer on Tuesday which revived the prospect of an 82-game season and used a 50/50 split that seems at first glance to be "fair", many fans hoped that the players would quickly accept that deal and get on with the start of the season, even though a decline from 57% of Hockey Related Revenues to 50% represents a significant and immediate drop in pay.
The fact remains that the owners' offers haven't included anything of significance that would benefit the NHLPA (the only exception being 2-year instead of 3-year Entry Level Contracts, which affects very few current NHLPA members). The terms as compared to the now-expired CBA have been either status quo or negative across the board, which each successive proposal only a little less so. Nevertheless, many see the NHL as having made the movement during these negotiations, and will blame the players for this impasse.
NHLPA head Don Fehr is expected to make a statement later today, but for now, things sure don't look good.