Will NHLPA response lead to settlement? (Ha!)

The NHL offered the union a 50/50 revenue split provided an 82-game season starts on Nov. 2. (Chris Young/Canadian Press/AP)

   The NHL Players’ Association, trying to save the season, made counteroffers that the NHL dismissed during an unproductive, one-hour meeting in Toronto on Thursday.

  "We're not speaking the same language," said Gary Bettman, the NHL's commissioner.

   He said the NHLPA presented three proposals, and called the meeting "a step backward." He said the proposals were all "variations of their first offer."

   No new talks have been scheduled.

   "I'm thoroughly disappointed," Bettman said.

   Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, said the owners' propsal would cost the players about 12 percent of their salaries. He said one of the union's proposals was to move to a 50-50 split as long as the players' contracts were honored in full and no escrow was involved.

   NHL players averaged $2.5 million last season; a 12 percent cut would put the average at $2.2 million.

   On Tuesday, the NHL had offered the union a 50/50 split on hockey-related revenue (HRR), provided an 82-game season starts on Nov. 2.

    The players’ union had a conference call before Thursday’s meeting, and of the four proposals discussed, all had gradual step-downs from the NHL’s 50/50 offer, ESPN reported.

    Bettman said the NHLPA's proposals were "nowhere close" to what the league had offered earlier in the week.

     The NHLPA had been asking to get 53 to 54 percent of the HRR. The players received 57 percent in the last collective bargaining agreement.

    On Twitter, fans were irate with Fehr.

     Tweeted AFleisher91: Donald Fehr is now public enemy #1 for hockey fans..he clearly cares even less about the fans than Bettman.

     In addition to the HRR split, there are many other items that need to be ironed out.

      The start of Thursday’s meeting was delayed from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. because the NHLPA had a conference call with its executive board and negotiating committee, which includes the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell.

    The NHL has said it has lost about $250 million because the exhibition season and the first two weeks of the season were canceled. Some of that money can be recouped if an 82-game season is salvaged.

    Bettman said a new CBA has to be signed by Oct. 25 in order to open training camps the next day and start the season on Nov. 2.

    But after Thursday's meeting, he headed back to New York and had little optimism that an entire season could be played.

    "Obviously, as the calendar ticks away, we're going to be cancelling more games," said the commissioner, adding that the cancelling of the Winter Classic was "rapidly approaching."

   Said Fehr: "Today is not a good day. It should have been, but it wasn't."

(more to come)

   * * *

   Niko Hovinen, the Flyers' highly touted goalie prospect, injured his collarbone in Trenton's ECHL game Wednesday and did not return. Hovinen was hit with a second-period shot in a 3-1 win over Reading.

  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Hovinen was day to day and would be re-evaluated this weekend.