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Bettman, NHL make new offer in hope of full season

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TWC News: Bettman, NHL make new offer in hope of full season
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TORONTO -- The NHL has made a new offer to the players' association that proposes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue and a full 82-game season starting Nov. 2.

As talks resumed Tuesday in Toronto between the league and the NHLPA, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the offer, which is crafted for--if nothing else--a quick response from the head of the players' association, Donald Fehr.

"It was done,'' Bettman said, "in the spirit of getting a deal done.''

Fehr told reporters that the proposal is for six years.

"Our hope,'' he said, "after we review this is that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this will be a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion.''

When asked if the new proposal was an improvement over previous offers made by the NHL, Fehr said: "In some respects I think it is. In other respects I'm not sure. We have to look at it.''

The NHL locked out its players on Sept. 15, and the regular season was scheduled to begin on Oct. 11. A Nov. 2 start date would extend the season well into June, but would preserve some of the marquee events, such as the Jan. 1 Winter Classic in Michigan.

Bettman said the long-term deal takes steps to guarantee the players will get full value from their existing deals. And in order to pull off the logistics of the schedule, each team would have one additional game every five weeks in order to get a full season in.

It is clearly the best offer--or counteroffer, for that matter-- that has been made in the months of negotiations since last season ended. And the proposal is now in the hands of Fehr and his team of executives. The union has requested time to look the proposal over.

"We're focused on getting the puck dropped on Nov. 2 and playing a full 82-game regular season and full playoffs,'' Bettman said. "That's what this offer is all about.''

This is the third lockout under Bettman's watch, but unlike the previous two, dialogue has remained steady. The two sides last met last week in New York.

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