Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and team player representative Craig Adams were among the 23 players in Toronto for today's important meeting between the NHL and the NHL Players Association. Others included stars Alex Ovechkin of Washington and Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay.
The NHLPA presented what executive director Donald Fehr described as an "alternative proposal" for the collective bargaining agreement to the NHL, which took a hard line on player finances and free agency rules in its initial CBA proposal last month.
The players, Fehr said at a news conference, agreed to keep a salary cap with a few exceptions and roll back their share of league revenue an unspecified amount from the current 57 percent. They propose keeping other contract rules the same. The idea, he said, is to help the franchises that are struggling financially. The proposal is for three years, with the players holding an option to revert to the current CBA for an ensuing year.
"We took a long time to look at the facts," Adams said. "We think it addressed areas of concern while still maintaining [players' interests]."
The current CBA expires Sept.15, and commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated that league management would lock out the players if there is not a new CBA before the start of the 2012-13 season.
Bettman said it was clear the NHLPA put a lot of thought into its proposal, and that the league would begin digesting it. No formal reaction from the NHL is expected before at least Wednesday.
"Everything's going to be well calculated on both sides," Adams said. "It's a long process. I don't think it's going to get solved tomorrow.
"We realize it's serious business.
Crosby had not sat in on previous talks this summer. Adams previously attended a couple of days of talks.
Shelly Anderson: email@example.com, 412-263-1721 and on Twitter @pgshelly.