Bettman claims 'wide gap' remains after latest CBA proposal

A day after receiving the NHLPA's counter- proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated Wednesday that a wide gap remained between the two sides.

The NHLPA submitted its response to the owners' July 13 proposal on Tuesday and negotiations between the factions continued Wednesday in Toronto. The current CBA expires on September 15.

"I think it's fair to say that we value the proposal and what it means in terms of its economics differently that the players' association does," said Bettman. "I think there still are a number of issues where we're looking at the world differently."

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr briefly outlined the players' proposal on Tuesday, saying they were willing to give up some hockey-related revenue over three years while largely keeping the contracting system intact.

Additionally, Fehr said that revenue sharing in the new proposal could involve upward of $250 million.

"What the players did is indicate to the owners that if there are issues remaining," Fehr elaborated on Wednesday. "They are club-specific issues, and if the clubs that don't need assistance are willing to partner with the players to help get at the issues of the clubs that may need it, we're prepared to do that."

Bettman said that there is "respect in the room" during negotiations, but he has previously made it clear that the league is prepared to lock out the players if a new CBA is not agreed upon by September 15.

"There is still a wide gap between us with not much time to go, but this is a process that we're going to continue to work hard on," the commissioner stated Wednesday.