The two sides are getting closer, but there still remains a significant gap.
The NHL's latest offer of an across the board 50-50 split over the life of a new agreement moves them some $300- to $400-million closer to where the NHLPA's last proposal came in, depending on how league revenues grow in the future.
Growth is a big wild card in these two offers. If it's high, as with the 7.1 per cent the union forecasts, these two proposals are just $110-million apart per season over the next five years.
But if it's low, as with the 5 per cent the league forecasts, they are $200-million apart per season.
The last time we presented these numbers here, it was based on the 7.1 per cent growth factor, as that's what the NHL has enjoyed under the last collective bargaining agreement.
We'll stick with that here to make comparisons easy (note that the 2011-12 figures have adjusted slightly due to new data from the league) but keep in mind the divide is likely a bit larger than what's here:
Now, there are all kinds of caveats in there.
For one, the league is proposing a six-year deal, meaning the savings they would get go beyond the existing five-year proposal we have from the PA.
Also, as noted earlier, if revenues don't grow at that quick a rate, we're much, much further apart. Without the rise of the Canadian dollar, for example, NHL revenues have only grown at a 6.3 per cent pace over the previous seven seasons.
So getting to 7.1 per cent without that bump may not even be possible.
That said, this gives you a good idea of how close we are getting on the basic financial details involved in these negotiations. The PA has clearly shown a willingness to come down into the 52 or 53 per cent range in its existing offer, and it's believed they have another proposal at the ready to put down on Thursday in negotiations.
The thing is, while you've heard all along that the percentage is the single biggest hurdle to getting a deal done, there are many other factors involved, and some of the things the players really won't like about the league's latest offer fall into that category.
Because there's a lot there, I'll get into some of those issues in another post. But this gives you a general sense of the dollars involved and what's changed since last month's offers.