Quick update on a Monday night:
The NHL and NHLPA will continue to negotiate protocols for the 2020-21 season, but agreed that the economic framework of the newly negotiated CBA won’t be changed.
Last month, the NHL asked the players to consider increasing deferred payments and caps on escrow at certain points in the agreement. The players reacted negatively, and made it clear they would not consider touching escrow.
According to multiple sources, they were willing to defer additional monies — in exchange for what they considered a meaningful concession. One of the suggestions, for example, was slightly raising the salary cap to put more money in the system. (Yes, that could increase how much players will eventually owe to balance the 50/50 split, but with escrow caps, it is not a great concern to the current group.)
No deal could be reached, and both sides decided to move on.
What’s next? Both sides continue to grind away at the protocols for 2020-21. Training camps, opt-outs, testing, the schedule, the playoffs, re-alignment, you name it.
Targets include a Jan. 13 start to the season, with non-playoff teams reporting Dec. 28 and others on Jan. 1. No exhibition games appear likely. I believe there is a short-term “hub plan” being worked on just in case, but it is not the preference. The biggest headache might be training camp plans in places like Montreal, San Jose (Arizona?) and Winnipeg, which have strict current restrictions due to COVID-19.
It sounds like there’s a desire to get something done by the end of the week, to be voted on but the Board of Governors and the players. We’ll see where this goes, but the financial discussions are over.