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updated: 10/18/2012 3:14 PM

NHL players not exactly giddy

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  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters following collective bargaining talks in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

      NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to reporters following collective bargaining talks in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • NHL players' association head Donald Fehr speaks to reporters following collective bargaining talks in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

      NHL players' association head Donald Fehr speaks to reporters following collective bargaining talks in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

 

Most NHL players aren't buying into the proposal put forward by the owners on Tuesday that centered on a 50-50 split of hockey related revenue.

First of all, the NHL Players Association wants to know what exactly defines hockey related revenue. That is certain to be one of the things the union brings up when the two sides meet again Thursday in Toronto.

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"Everyone hears 50-50 and says, 'Why aren't you signing?'" former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. "But there are a lot of ins and outs the majority (of people) don't know about. We know we have to give in areas, but we want something that's fair."

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews thinks the league's latest proposal -- and the fact it was made public Wednesday in its entirety on the NHL's website -- was nothing more than a public-relations ploy to get the fans on the owners' side.

"To a certain extent they're trying to sway public opinion, and I don't think there's a secret there," Toews said. "As long as they don't think it's like their final drastic attempt to salvage an 82-game season.

"If they were that desperate to conserve an 82-season and get things done I think this would have been done already. There's no real effort there.

"It's just a ploy to kind of sway the positive light back in their favor."

But Toews remains optimistic there will be a season.

"I'm always going to remain optimistic, but it gets tiring," Toews said. "Hopefully it gets the ball rolling the right way here.

"They're playing an angle there. As players we're not going to get too excited about it. We'll consider what they come up with and try and see what we can work with."

Toews and Campbell spoke Wednesday at a news conference for "Champs for Charity," an exhibition game to be held Oct. 26 at the Allstate Arena.

The game, sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities, is the brainchild of former Hawk Adam Burish, who has tried to lure as many of his teammates from the 2010 Stanley Cup team to participate.

So far Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland off the present Hawks roster have committed to play along with Burish, Campbell, Troy Brouwer, John Madden, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd and Ben Eager.

"We want to give fans who are starving for hockey something to watch and we want to give back to this charity," Burish said.

The Hawks and ex-Hawks will play a team from the rest of the "World" consisting of the likes and Ryan Suter, Craig Anderson and Alex Goligoski. Word spread Wednesday that Sidney Crosby was going to be asked to participate.

The league's proposal was made with an eye toward starting the season Nov. 2 and saving the full 82-game schedule.

"It's possible to start (Nov. 2) as long as both sides are willing to negotiate, stay civil and make sure the best interest of both sides are in play," Brouwer told reporters.

Brouwer believes there's a deal to be made if both sides are willing to get down to some serious negotiating.

"There are a few hidden gems you have to break down to understand and a few things we can't quite accept yet, but they're on the way," Brouwer said.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr sent a letter to players and agents Tuesday night, and TSN's Bob McKenzie obtained a copy of it.

In the letter, Fehr said, "simply put, the owners' new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights. As you will see, at the five percent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds $1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?"

tsassone@dailyherald.com

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