All hockey fans — check that, all sports fans — dread any sort of labor stoppage. It kills momentum, it kills league growth, and for the NHL those are two things that the league has right now. Many pundits and fans, when they read the NHL owners' proposal back at the end of July, believed that the owners of the teams didn't care – that they wanted their way or the highway, and would risk losing revenue to possibly increase the bottom line down the road. Cutting off the toes to save the foot, so to speak. The terms of the proposal were so harsh and the cuts to the players so deep, that there is no way that the NHLPA could pop back a quick counter-offer.
A month later, and the counter-offer has arrived. The players realize that coming out with equally outlandish demands will get them nowhere, and if they would like to be paid they need to play this season. That mindset explains why they're willing to take a cut in revenue percentage for players to help facilitate revenue sharing to the teams that don't pull in the cash. Players are willing to give up $465 million in revenue in this deal, which maintains the current salary cap structure.
The two sides have until September 15th to come to an agreement. The players have been vocal in stating that they're willing to start the season as long as a deal is close, while the owners have said that they will lock the players out until a deal is reached. The players would rather not lose their only source of income for the year, while the owners are willing to play chicken, as most of their main income does not come from the team that they own. Bettman hopes that a deal is done in a month, but fans would like the peace of mind knowing that it will be fixed sooner rather than later.