NHL, NHLPA trade correspondence

Updated: February 7, 2006, 10:44 AM ET

In an effort to save the NHL season, a flurry of correspondence moved between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow in the final hours. Click below to find the full text in the order the letters were sent.

NHL offers a $42.5 million salary cap
Gary Bettman

Dear Bob:

We attempted to reach out to you with yesterday's offer of a team maximum cap of $42.2 million ($40 million in salary and $2.2 million in benefits) which was not linked to league-wide revenues. As Bill told Ted, "de-linking" a maximum team salary cap from league revenues and total league-wide player compensation has always been problematic for us, especially since we cannot now quantify the damage to the League from the lockout. This presents the risk we will pay out more than we can afford. As you know, if all 30 teams were to spend to the maximum we proposed, and if the damage to our business is as we discussed at our meetings in New York, then the league would continue to lose money.

I know, as do you, that the "deal" we can make will only get worse for the players if we cancel the season -- whatever damage we have suffered to date will pale in comparison to the damage from a cancelled season and we will certainly not be able to afford what is presently on the table. Accordingly, I am making one final effort to reach out to make a deal that will let us play this season.

We are increasing our offer of yesterday by increasing the maximum individual team cap to $44.7 million ($42.5 million in salary and $2.2 million in benefits). This offer is not an invitation to begin negotiations -- it's too late for that.

This is our last effort to make a deal that's fair to the players and one that the clubs (hopefully) can afford. We have no more flexibility and there is no time for further negotiation.

If this offer is acceptable, please let me know by 11:00 A.M. tomorrow, in advance of my scheduled press conference. Hopefully, the press conference will not be necessary.

Gary B. Bettman