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Optimism wanes as NHL breaks off talks

Significant movement has happened in negotiations, what's next?

Bruce Bennett

Even after media has been stressing all day that everything is taking a turn for the worse, Don Fehr held a press conference to say that the NHL and NHLPA have reached agreements on virtually every issue aside from contract length and contract cash variance.

The NHL wants to limit contracts to 5 years for unrestricted free agents going from one team to another, and 7 years on retained players, including RFAs. The NHLPA beileves five years to be too short for player security reasons.

On contract variance, the NHL wants no contract's single year payout to be more than 5% more than the previous year. Both these NHL proposals are to limit cap circumvention that players and general managers took serious advantage of during the last CBA.

Fehr stressed two things multiple times during his conference, that he believes that the NHL and NHLPA have a full agreement on dollars, and that the players have made "the lion's share" of the significant movement to make a deal possible.

Fehr also mentioned that he believes there's no reason why there can't be an agreement in the near term.

UPDATE: The NHL left a voicemail message with Steve Fehr that they rejected the NHLPA's latest offer summarily, and that there would not be talks tonight or tomorrow.