The NHLPA is expected to officially respond on Tuesday to the owners' aggressive opening salvo, but according to SportsNet's Michael Grange, it's going to be less of a counterproposal and more of a total overhaul of the league's current structure.
"The expectation is that [NHLPA president Donald] Fehr, having played it coy even as the expiration of the current CBA on Sept. 15 comes ever closer, will instead present the owners with his own vision of how the industry should be shaped," Grange writes, citing sources inside the union.
Fehr, and by extension the players, will ask that the league abolish the hard salary cap currently in place — the salary cap that took a lost season for the owners to win — and in its place institute a luxury tax system to reign in "teams that see fit to invest in talent."
Along with that significant change, the players are also prepared to suggest increased revenue sharing between teams in the league, to help the teams in certain hockey-crazed markets keep teams in lesser areas afloat.
"The game is growing but we want to make it that much better for everyone," said Maple Leafs union rep David Steckel. "It's not just us wanting more money, we want the game to be better for everyone."
While details of the NHLPA's proposal aren't yet clear, it appears to be a very different tact than some could have foreseen. How the owners then respond could go a long way towards deciding whether or not the NHL season starts on time.