"Not that hill. Another hill." - Bruce Bennett
Resuming negotiations for the first time since a mid-December tantrum, the NHL continues to inch off hills it previously pledged to die on.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com had the initial details (from a player source) of what is a new CBA proposal from the NHL to its players union. [Update: His subsequent post has much, much more detail from a team source.]
Features include small moves off the NHL's previous proposal, which it "took off the table" after the NHLPA had the gall to negotiate off of it. (The NHL was so high on that proposal, according to one management source, that the league had "already drawn up a schedule" before the NHLPA said no.)
Among the new tweaks: a term limit of six-year contracts instead of five, a change in year-to-year salary variance allowed of 10 percent instead of five percent, and -- most significantly for fan roster musing -- a one-player-per-team buyout option to help conform with what would be a $60 million cap in 2013-14. (Edit: The 2012-13 season would have an "effective" cap of $70.2 million.)
Granted, as both sides often find in their game of dupe-the-dupe, the devil will be in the details. The NHLPA will surely take issue with things found within. The NHL will surely express outrage that the union doesn't like X, Y or Z. The familiar roles will be reprised as we head into 2013 and the PA's deadline for deciding whether to disclaim.
But this one sounds somewhat serious in that it's a full, 300-plus page proposal, according to Katie Strang. And TSN's Darren Dreger reports it's not "take it or leave it" -- that the NHL will consider "tweaks" or trades of various components.
So there you have it. A good roundup of other reports (e.g. players will conference this afternoon; owners supposedly tell Bettman cancellation is unacceptable, etc.) is in this lockout update at our SB Nation hockey hub.
Herein lies your thread for lockout/CBA speculating and cursing. Or return to watching the stars of future NHL lockouts as they play at the WJC in Ufa.