Another NHL CBA meeting ends without results, as both sides could take this down to the wire before a deal is done.
TSN.CA: The NHL and NHLPA met separately yesterday with federal mediators, but just like the previous CBA talks involving mediators, nothing emerged to bring the two sides closer to a resolution. No new proposals were made and it is doubtful meetings continue today. No owners participated in yesterday’s meeting, while 13 players attended on the NHLPA side. The league continues to insist on a ten-year CBA (with an opt-out clause at year eight), term limits on player contracts and no variance (like amnesty buyouts or capping escrow) during the transition toward a 50-50 revenue split.
ESPN.COM: Katie Strang cited sources claiming, to the NHLPA’s understanding, the NHL’s stance hasn’t changed since last week, maintaining a “take it or leave it” position. Several of the players who traveled to Wednesday’s meeting were said to be unhappy over the league’s unwillingness to move off its position. According to Strang, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly “said the league never put its last offer on the table, although the mediator may have presented the union with a “what-if” scenario should it resurrect its proposal.” Scott Burnside, meanwhile, lists the 12 things to miss about the NHL, including Scott Hartnell’s hair and HBO’s “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” reality series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly may say the NHL’s recent proposal wasn’t put back on the table, but rest assured if the players were willing to accept it, that proposal would swiftly reappear. Indeed, the “take it or leave it” position suggests it remains in play.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Free agent Brenden Morrison, who participated in yesterday’s meeting, told NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti he “ never thought the issues were as big as they were back in 04-05. Apparently, I was wrong,”
SLAM!HOCKEY: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports sources say the NHL intended to cancel games up to January 14, but opted not to do so in order to entice the players back to the negotiating table. Given yesterday’s talks went nowhere, Garrioch speculates the league could soon slap a “drop dead date” on the union to get a deal done.
CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman suggests such a deadline might be what’s needed to finally bring about a resolution to the lockout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s comments last week suggesting anything less than a 48-game schedule wasn’t workable, media consensus had mid-January as the potential deadline, though Bettman has yet to impose a deadline on negotiations. If, say, January 15th becomes the deadline, that leaves potentially another month of talks before a possible resolution. It certainly appears as though both sides are willing to take this down to the wire.
SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector believes the owners need to be more flexible in these negotiations.
SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector believes keeping talks quiet (out of the media spotlight as much as possible) is the best path toward a CBA.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Chris Johnston of Canadian Press reports amnesty buyouts remain an issue the two sides must sort out. The league is against amnesty buyouts, considering it money paid to those bought-out players as outside the revenue share and the salary cap.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle reminds us the new CBA could target existing long term contracts, perhaps with a “cap benefit recapture formula,” which would punish teams with players who retired early on long-term deals by putting the money they saved over the term of the deal on their cap after they’ve retired.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We haven’t heard much about that proposal since the PA introduced it about a month ago, as the focus has shifted to other issues, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see that wind up, in some form, in the new CBA..
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford examines how the next CBA could affect Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s next contract.
NEW YORK TIMES: Jeff Z. Klein reports expects claim the NHL’s “dysfunctional” business model puts the league in peril. The league to date has lost nearly ten percent of its games over the past 18 years to three lockouts.