A deal to be made 
Following the comments by Declan and myself below - here's a good piece by CP:
The league likely hopes Linden will be willing to explore what's in it for the players if they agree to the NHL's proposed framework.
On the flip side, Linden will surely ask Hotchkiss why the owners can't negotiate off the players' Dec. 9 proposal, a package highlighted by a 24 per cent salary rollback on all existing player contracts.
Linden will no doubt remind Hotchkiss the union is willing to bend on other facets of the offer, especially the payroll tax. The Vancouver Canucks centre could, for example, tell the Flames owner: "Hey, we know 20 cents on the dollar at $45 million doesn't cut it, how do you feel about 80 cents?"
The hope, for those who want to see hockey this year, is that there's enough give and take in the conversation to carry them throughout the day and perhaps into the night.
Somewhere, somehow, there must be a solution that can work for both.
Here's one from an industry source who didn't want his name or job mentioned: an eight-year "hybrid" agreement that basically works off an improved players' offer for the first four years and then evolves into the league's fixed-link system for the last four years. Both Bettman and Goodenow could save face.
A number of owner-friendly improvements would be made in the areas of entry-level contracts, qualifying offers for restricted free agents and salary arbitration, but the key component would be a dollar-for-dollar tax on payrolls over $38 million US. At that point, the luxury tax basically becomes a soft cap given that few clubs would want to get dinged at such an exorbitant rate.
And in the comments on TSN, 'Rabid' adds this:
Bob McCown of the Fan 590 makes a good point. If the owners offered a salary cap at $60 million, wouldn't the players take it? And if the players offered a luxury tax of 300% at $31 million, wouldn't the owners take it? His point is that this is still all about numbers and there is a deal to be made. SO MAKE IT, GUYS!!!!!!

Sounds about right to me. The problem will be if the owners think they have the momentum and can abuse their current PR position and force a cap at their desired level without negotiation.

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