Herein lies the "gulf" between the sides: The players might even consider dipping down to the expected 50/50 split with the owners … if the rest of the financial system was in fact the status quo. But the NHL wants a reduction in salaries and revisions to the current system that will, again, protect the owners from themselves.
That means getting rid of arbitration, shackling rookies to 5-year contracts, making UFA status achievable only after 10 years of NHL service and other tweaks. So while the players might swallow a 24-percent salary rollback again under the current system, they certainly won't if the rest of the NHL's plans are enacted, because it would deaden wage growth in this League for years.
- Perception is reality, and whether it's media depicted or the truth, the perception is the players are willing to make sacrifices for the good of the sport. The owners do not come off the same way.