Penguins forward Craig Adams acknowledged Monday that the NHL is "asking for huge concessions" in early talks about a new collective bargaining agreement, but he is far from buying into any hysteria that the 2012-13 season is in jeopardy.
"I'm always a fairly optimistic guy," Adams said. "I know there's a long way to go. Things are moving along slowly. We're still hopeful we can get something done."
Adams, a team NHL Players' Association representative along with defenseman Brooks Orpik, is in New York. He sat in on what he described as in-house informational meetings Monday with the NHLPA and will also sit in today when the NHLPA and NHL hold the latest in discussions about the CBA that binds the two entities.
The current CBA has been in place since 2005 after a work stoppage that wiped out a full season and expires Sept. 15.
The union has not yet countered an NHL proposal that includes a rollback in the players' cut of revenues from 57 percent to 46 percent, extending entry-level contracts to a maximum of five years, delaying unrestricted free agency until a player has spent 10 years in the league and a stipulation that each year of a contract be of equal salary.
There will be other negotiating points -- among them, Olympics participation, realignment and concussion prevention and treatment -- but the financial and contractual elements might prove to be the toughest to agree upon.
"It's one proposal. It's their opening bid," Adams said. "We're taking some time to go through it. We've asked for more information. You don't want to overreact or act emotionally."
Adams, a Harvard graduate, is the first Penguins player and one of several from around the NHL who have audited the discussions this month, and they don't just include team player reps.
"It's open to anyone and everyone," Adams said. "It's anyone wanting to go at any time. We've had a strong level of participation."
Orpik has talked in the past about the strong communication under NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, and Adams said players who don't go to talks in person aren't being left out.
"Every guy in the league is being constantly updated," he said.
Adams hasn't decided whether to attend sessions beyond today.penguins