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11-09-2012, 09:48 PM
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Pierre LeBrun

NEW YORK -- Well, I guess it was too much to ask them to continue to act like adults for the entire week.

Nope, the old show returned Friday, NHL labor talks off the rails after a week full of promise and for the first time, real meaningful negotiation.

As I wrote Thursday night, they hadn’t delivered a whole lot of progress in the first three days of meetings this week, but at least they were seemingly willing to turn the other cheek and persevere through it, logging in the longest and most frank bargaining hours of this entire lockout.

Then Friday came, and you knew it wasn’t going to be pretty because sources on both ends of the aisle were privately predicting "negative vibes" before the big group even got together.

A source on each side told that it got more than a little unfriendly by the end of Friday’s session.

As predicted in this space since last week, Make Whole was going to make or break this negotiation and finding common ground on it is the only way to salvage a deal.

Sources on both sides confirmed to that the league’s Make Whole offer -- an attempt to honor players’ existing contracts -- amounts to $211 million of guaranteed money ($149 million in Year 1 and $62 million in Year 2, both deferred in payment by one year and payable with interest). The league’s belief is that by Year 3 of the deal, revenues will have likely grown enough that at 50 percent of HRR the players shouldn’t face much if any salary erosion in escrow. At which one NHLPA source countered, what if the revenues don’t grow that much? Then what? The union says in that case players aren’t made whole on their contracts.

Listen, the league’ $211-million Make Whole offer is not anything to sniff at, it’s a tangible move on the league’s part. But it’s still nowhere close to where the NHLPA would be willing to sign off on. Try about $600 million or so. That might do it.

At $211 million, the NHLPA doesn’t feel that comes close to making players "whole" on current contracts.

"It’s not make whole -- it’s make partial," said one player via text.

Last edited by gra: 11-09-2012 at 10:12 PM.
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