NASHVILLE – Following Tuesday’s offer from the NHL, Donald Fehr and the players’ union plan to respond with a CBA proposal of their own Thursday afternoon in Toronto. Eighteen players and four owners have joined Fehr and Gary Bettman, among others, for today’s proceedings.
Predators centre Mike Fisher expressed optimism over the situation, but isn’t about to get too excited until the players get a “fair deal.”
“Both sides want to negotiate, want to get a deal done. You can break down anything you want, but we want to play, we want to get a fair deal done,” Fisher said after participating in today’s NHLPA conference call.
Bettman presented the new 50-50 offer on Tuesday, 34 days after their last offer to the NHLPA. In the NHL’s proposal, however, the players will still have to give up money compared to the CBA that expired last month.
“I don’t think it’s a fair deal when you look at the numbers… We are willing to work towards that 50 (per cent) as teams grow; that’s huge for us to work in that direction,” said Fisher. “We’re still giving a ton of money, but both sides want to negotiate, and that’s positive.”
Predators defenceman Shea Weber shared those same sentiments: the players aren’t satisfied with the NHL’s offer, but it at least gets the ball rolling.
“We’re positive right now. The latest offer they had was a good starting point. Now we can start negotiations,” Weber said.
Earlier this week, Bettman said the deadline to save an 82-game season is Oct. 25, a week from today. Teams would then hold a one-week training camp and start the season on Nov. 2.
“Obviously you want to play 82 games, but if they were that worried about it, why didn’t they offer their offer in July? We wouldn’t even be talking about this,” Weber said. “I think it’s a little too late to have that as your main sticking point.”