2012 NHL CBA Negotiations: Are The Owners A Split Party?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (L) speaks with Co-Owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We're a day away from the next official meeting between the NHL and the NHLPA. Wednesday also marks 25 days before the September 15th deadline in which the owners would lock out the players if no new CBA is in place. Needless to say, the CBA negotiations are probably going to hit a fever pitch sooner rather than later.

We discussed recently some of the subtle attacks the NHLPA's offer made against the owners. Donald Fehr very carefully created his proposal with the ideology that they would potentially be able to split up the owners with the idea of revenue sharing; something that's probably a dirty word to bigger market teams while it's a thought that might have some smaller market teams smiling from ear to ear.

After the proposal was reviewed by the NHL, Gary Bettman made a point that the owners understood the offer, but didn't agree with a lot of it. The optimism that Fehr's deal could be a jumping point was gone. So was the hope that the revue sharing proposal would split the owners and create a divided group.

Join me after the jump for more.

Well, thanks to a report from Aaron Portzline, that hope might be rejuvenated. From his article:

Because of this, it's possible that as talks progress, they could pit owner against owner. The small-market owners could find themselves siding with players against the large-market owners, the power-brokers in the league. "I think as many as eight NHL owners would accept the NHLPA's initial proposal," said an NHL player agent who spoke to The Dispatch on the condition of anonymity. "And there's probably four to six others who would find the proposal acceptable enough that they could tweak a couple of things and live with it."

But don't expect any owner to acknowledge that publicly. The NHL has threatened a fine of at least $1 million to any club that speaks out during the lockout.Any disagreement would have to be confined to private talks among owners. One NHL executive toldThe Dispatch last week that Bettman has the "full support of every owner in the room right now."

It's not surprising that an NHL executive would say that Bettman had "the full support of every owner in the room" a week ago. The point of the offer Fehr laid onto the table was supposed to get smaller market teams thinking about the idea of revenue sharing.

Apparently it might have worked, even if it just worked a little. Smaller market teams probably would love to see some of the bigger market's extra money, while the bigger markets want nothing to do with it.

We'll know more tomorrow, but for now, it's time to get these negotiations moving in the right direction.

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