The National Hockey League and NHL Players Association exchanged a series of proposals during their third straight day of serious negotiations. Following their second session, which concluded around 1:00 AM on Thursday, both sides met with the media stating that there was still a lot of work to be done. However, both Bettman and Fehr stated that there was some traction in some of the areas separating the two sides, but declined to go into any specifics.
One of the many remaining issues between the two sides starts with the proposed $60 million salary cap ceiling in the second year of the CBA. The players are looking to raise that number up a bit in the range of $64-$65 million. It was also believed that the union was seeking a cap on escrow, but that doesn't appear to the case anymore as it's not been formally proposed. Finally you have the player pensions, which were said to be agreed upon in the past, but with some recent tweaks by the NHL that is no longer the case.
Federal mediators have also been involved in the talks since they were kick started on New Year's Eve. The fact that mediators were included once again at the joint request from both sides is a good side the end is finally near. Not to mention that negotiations are still going strong despite some hiccups here and there.
The NHLPA also had a soft deadline of midnight last night to file their disclaimer of interest against the NHL, where the union would temporarily stop representing the players, which wouldn't allow them to collectively bargain. Since the deadline passed untouched by the union, it's safe to say the process is progressing at a decent pace, and we're on the road to an agreement.