NHL Lockout (Day 86) Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2012.

NHL CBA negotiations could continue this week, plus various commentary on how the league & NHLPA have handled those talks to date.

NATIONAL POST: Ira Podell of Associated Press reports the NHL and NHLPA were in contact over the weekend seeking to restart CBA negotiations, which fell apart in dramatic fashion late last week. “Trying to set up something for this week, but nothing finalized yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote Sunday in an email to The Associated Press.

Bruce Arthur dismissed last week’s collapse in negotiations just part of the theatrics by the league, rejecting the league’s claim the two sides still remain far apart on the dollars. “They are, other than escrow and buyouts issues, zero dollars apart, based on the offers made this week. They are two years apart on the length of the CBA, three years apart on term limits for contracts, and there is other housekeeping here and there. But that’s it. That’s the gap. It’s a crack in the sidewalk. Just hop across.”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Jeff Blair believes the NHL owners are out of tricks in their attempt to break the NHLPA, but wondered if the players can remain united long enough to bring about a deal. “In the meantime, the owners are down to the bottom of the bag of stupid owner tricks, and while hockey players were destined to give back more than they’ll ever gain in collective bargaining the second they opened the door to a salary cap, they are close to the point at which they’ve minimized their losses as much as possible”, writes Blair.

Eric Duhatschek reports Canada’s World Junior Hockey team has a “Plan B” should some of their young stars be recalled by their NHL teams if the lockout is ended prior to the start of the World Junior Hockey Championships.  “It will still be the usual collection of heart-and-soul teenagers that charms the country every Christmas with their efforts and commitment, but it won’t have nearly the same star power.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Certainly didn’t take long for the two sides to get in contact with each other following the breakdown in last week’s talks. That shouldn’t be surprising, for despite the sound and fury at the end of last week’s talks, it was apparent both sides moved much closer toward a deal than at any time during this standoff.  Though there are undoubtedly hardliners on both sides determined to crush each other, there are also those who believe a deal is close and want to see this thing through. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa warns both sides their strategies could hurt, rather than help, negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It comes down to the league’s attempt to divide and conquer as they did last time against what Krupa called NHLPA director Donald Fehr’s calculated approach. The danger is one side could push the other too far, resulting in a serious breakdown which scuttles efforts to save this season. I don’t doubt the anger and frustration coming from the league’s side, and I believe there are players getting worried Fehr could antagonize the owners into shutting down the season. Still, given the progress made last week, I still believe there enough folks on both sides willing to negotiate a resolution.

Could the efforts of Crosby & Lemieux help bring the lockout to an end?

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi recently took “an inside look” of how Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby got involved in the CBA negotiations and how they attempted to save this season. One significant factor was agent Pat Brisson, a long-time friend of Lemieux and agent for Crosby, who spoke with Lemieux around Thanksgiving about getting involved. They, along with Crosby, began making calls to get more owners and players involved in the talks.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio also praised Crosby’s efforts, suggesting the Penguins captain seized the mantle of leadership in the same style as his childhood idol, Steve Yzerman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Imagine, an owner, agent and player working together to try to end a lockout. Gee, who would’ve thought that could happen.

MIAMI HERALD: David J. Neal warns the NHL much break its cycle of staging lockouts after each CBA, or risk damaging its fan base.

NEW YORK POST: The NHL could announce today the cancellation of the remainder of its December schedule.


  1. The National Globe Tribune Harold Post: Reager Gitayshon reports “Blah, blah, blah, my cats name is Mittins…”

  2. I’ve been wondering for a while why Lemieux didn’t become more active. He’s the one guy who has credibility on all sides.

  3. The one shinning bright spot in all this theatre that has been the NHL lock-out is that hockey fans, me especially, can look forward to seeing real honest to goodness all out on ice effort by all players when the World Junior Championship begins. I enjoy these games even more than I do NHL games and can hardly wait to see those wearing the Maple Leaf represent Canada.
    There are contracts worth millions to be had for the best and brightest but at this point they are playing for their futures, their teammates and their countries and every time they step on the ice it shows, unlike some of the more highly paid pros who have been known to take shifts, nights and some may even say seasons off.

    As far as the National Post’s article about what has been going on over the weekend as far as NHL/NHLPA news, they may as well have just printed yesterday’s TV schedule for all the pertinent information it contained. But then again it is the National Post.

    I couldn’t agree more with The Globe and Mail’s Jeff Blair and his take on the owners and their stupid tricks. I can already see Letterman and his segment called the Top Ten Stupid Tricks Tried By NHL Owners To Get Rid Of Donald Fehr.

    As far as Bettman’s temper tantrum at the podium and his rant, he reminded me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoon character Yosemite Sam stomping’ his feet and a jumpin’ up and down. Lots of noise and funny to watch. Whatever Donald Fehr did to cause that reaction, (maybe stole Gary’s lunch) I’d pay to see him do it again.

  4. Tricks??? Hmmm, you mean like having your membership put a pathetic PR display on twitter. Or maybe trying to convince the public that the Owners are secretly divided on the issue of the lockout (that one was certainly disproven in dramatic fashion). Or maybe having a handful of players constantly tweeting how “strong and unified” the union is…….even though no-one asked….lol, but wait…..maybe its how classy and mature the players were when one of their elder statesmen Hamrlik voiced his own opinion…..glad to see the NHLPA isnt doing an anti-bullying campaign right now. Or maybe it is not allowing your membership to vote on a proposal “cause you think you can get them a better one”

    Why…..oh why….does some of the media, and those who drink the koolaid, think that Bettman’s, Daly’s and the owners statement that they arent close……and that there is no agreement on Make Whole/Transition as the $300 mill offered was contingent on 3 dealbreakers, which the players choose to ignore but also choose to beleive the $300 mill is on the table. Bettman didnt stutter. Daly made it perfectly clear. And Tannenbaum, the “players” owner….backed them both up.

    Unlike some…..two very well respected and well connected “insiders” Darren Dreger and Bob MacKenzie have both stated quite clearly that they had heard directly from several owners “who were thrilled to see the make whole money taken off the table as they werent comfortable with offering it at all”. I know that being a sports writer in of itself is a blend of hero worship and catering to egos, but to blatantly ignore the truth in favour of a more dramatic “thought” is not news…..us old ignorant soldiers used to call it bullshit.

    • @ Old_Soldier

      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought that most sports writers (in all sports) are complete suck-ups. Note that I’m not referring to bloggers or sites like this. I’m talking about the guys (and gals) who schmooze with the players. If they don’t kiss the players backsides, they don’t get the interviews. I’ve never heard of an owner taking a disliking to a reporter and then barring him from team facilities, but I have heard of players who won’t talk to certain reporters.

  5. The Owners and their tricks? I think that writer has blinders on. I mean it’s not like Fehr and the NHLPA are not playing tricks. Fehr’s tactics are to frustrate the other side into negotiating with itself hoping it just gives in… It may work.. but in my mind not a professional way to bargain.

    That extra $100 million the Owners put on the table was based on a 10 yr CBA.. so NO they are not close to any deal… To much Fehr Kool-Aid.

  6. Ya really,NHL tricks,what a joke.
    how about fehr ignoring all offers completely and making up his own in replies.
    or fehr being late for every meeting and taking 20 minutes water breaks.
    the best for last in selecting the parts of the offers he likes and accepting them and then altering what is to be returned to his way of thinking and then having pressers saying they are close to agreements.

    if you want to use TV to compare talk about leaders i think fehr takes his lessons from White Collar/leverage and other con artist shows.

    when fehr talks it is more like he is telling fairy tales rather then using real facts to tell true stories.

  7. I beg to differ with those of you siding with owners. Fehr has very little leverage to work with , while owners can beat on the table all day, because they control the paychecks. Minimizing what the players have to take in the shorts is all Fehr can do. That being said, it would seem like term of contract limits would be the easiest hurdle to overcome. Teams are stupid to sign anyone in any sport to over five years anyways, both because of injury and performance consistency.
    How about a ceiling on how much stars can be paid per season? I never saw a Stanley cup won without grinders and good three and four lines, and those are the guys who really have to battle for spots and earn their money in often a short window of time. They are often the ones that give fans a real blue collar work effort too, and who sacrifice their bodies game in and game out. How about insuring these guys get a solid payday by decreasing what the big scorers get just a little…..