Players' Association Offers 24% Salary Reduction

The National Hockey League Players' Assocation met with the NHL on Thursday to present an offer with what they deemed to be "significant, significant changes" - the first offer for a new collective bargaining agreement from either side since the league's lockout of the players began almost three months ago.

The players were expected to offer a 10% salary reduction and a luxury tax of 75% for every dollar above $40 million. They surprised hockey experts everywhere by offering a luxury tax of 20% on every dollar above $45 million and a staggering 24% salary cut.

The tax rises to 50 cents on the dollar over $50 million and 60 cents on the dollar over $60 million. Also included in the offer were a revamped arbitration system and lower entry-level contracts.

The NHLPA says that their proposal would save the owners' - who claim to have lost $300 million last season - up to $600 million in salaries.

Despite the immediate savings to the owners, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman continued to state his opinion that the league needs a salary cap. His only concession to the players was that "they showed a recognition of the economic problems that the game is facing."

The league and the union will meet again next Tuesday, when the NHL is expected to offer a counter-proposal.

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