NHL makes new offer; lockout enters critical stage

The NHL's latest offer to the players' association was enough for the sides to make plans to meet this weekend.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday the league presented its proposal Thursday. The sides haven't met in person since a second round of talks with a federal mediator broke down Dec. 13.

The NHL and the players' association are expected to talk via conference call on Saturday, and have tentative plans to meet Sunday in New York.

The league's comprehensive new offer, that is several hundred pages in length, was still being reviewed by the union Friday night. The players' association's executive board and negotiating committee went over the proposal during an internal conference call.

"We delivered to the union a new, comprehensive proposal for a successor CBA," Daly said in a statement Friday. "We are not prepared to discuss the details of our proposal at this time. We are hopeful that once the union's staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible."

The league would like to have a deal in place by Jan. 11, begin training camps the following day and start the regular season by Jan. 19. The lockout has reached its 104th day, and the NHL said it doesn't want a season of less than 48 games. That means a deal would need to be reached mid-January.

A person familiar with key points of the offer told The Associated Press that the league proposed raising the limit of individual free-agent contracts to six years from five.

- Associated Press

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