NHL Lockout: League Counters NHLPA's Counteroffer

"The league is strong and getting stronger," Bettman will say some time again. - Bruce Bennett

Or rather, make that a "comprehensive response," according to NHLPA head Donald Fehr.

The poor bastards assigned to cover every last eyebrow raise and podium construction of this NHL lockout are now following what all involved hope is the endgame, including negotiations that spanned New Year's Eve in Times Square.

(As PGI put it: "While the NHLPA reviews the NHL's latest offer, a reporter sits in an ATM vestibule, freezing to death like Nicholson in The Shining.")

The news coming out late on New Year's Day was that the NHL had made a counter to the NHLPA's counteroffer, which itself was a response to the kickstart the NHL left on their table Friday before the holiday. To this point both sides are behaving, almost as if they're taking this thing seriously.

According to multiple reports who heard Gary Bettman speak, the NHL moved on certain PA requests and said no on others -- in other words, it's almost as if they're negotiating like grown adults now.

Providing some ostensible pressure is the NHLPA's deadline on whether to disclaim interest by the end of Jan. 2, which would trigger all sorts of legal maneuvers and would mean the PA no longer represents the players. However, that deadline is self-imposed, and they could always take up the issue and hold another vote if they later felt the negotiating process had exhausted itself.

Still, at this point both sides are moving. According to Renaud Lavoie the PA appears to have accepted a 10-year deal (with conditions) and revenue sharing is "done."

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