NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines (Cautious Optimism Edition) – December 5, 2012.

Unexpected progress in yesterday’s meeting between NHL owners and players has given rise to “cautious optimism” for a season-saving CBA.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (L) & NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr announce progress in last night’s owners-players meeting.

CANADIAN PRESS (VIA GLOBAL REGINA): A marathon meeting yesterday between NHL owners and players concluded with NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr calling it “the best day” of the lockout thus far, while NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (standing side-by-side with Fehr) acknowledged both sides are working hard toward a resolution. Daly singled out the 18 players who attended the meeting for praise for their efforts. Neither would discuss what was talked about in the meeting, but it is believed both sides were willing to make more concessions toward a deal.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports it was Pittsburgh Penguins reclusive owner Ron Burkle and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (who traveled to the meeting together) who appear responsible for the traction gained in this meeting. LeBrun also reported NHL Chief Operation Officer John Collins denied a rumor claiming he was leaving the NHL because of his frustration over the lockout. Sarah Goldstein, meanwhile, published a list of the eighteen players and six owners involved in yesterday’s talks, which are expected to continue early Wednesday morning.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports the Penguins “are sending everyone over the boards to try to end the NHL lockout”. In addition to Burkle and Crosby, Mario Lemieux and team CEO David Morehouse are also in NY City. The latter pair will also attend today’s NHL Board of Governors meeting with Burkle.

PHILLY.COM: reported some additional details regarding last night’s meeting. Among them: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr did not participate in the negotiations, and the two sides are expected to reconvene this morning prior to the Board of Governors meeting (scheduled for 11 AM).

NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos noted there were no players from the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs at yesterday’s talks, even though the owners of those respective clubs participated in the negotiations.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a “tweet” from Sportsnet claiming Bettman will address the media today at approximately 1 PM ET, following the conclusions of the Board of Governors meeting. The presser was believed already scheduled prior to yesterday’s owners-players meeting.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks warns us that there’s been moments of “cautious optimism” before in this NHL lockout which ultimately came to nothing.

 OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders if those members of the Board of Governors who aren’t happy over this lockout will have the opportunity to voice their concerns to Bettman during today’s meeting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was among those pessimistic yesterday’s owners-players meeting would resolve anything, so color me pleasantly surprised by what emerged from those talks. Still, Brooks is right to warn us that the progress made is fragile and, depending upon what comes out of today’s meeting between the two sides and the BoG meeting, our hopes could again be dashed. That being said, however, there’s a genuine sense both sides want to get a deal done. If they do, it’s been suggested a 56-game schedule, commencing in late-December, would be possible. We’re not there yet, folks, and what emerges from today’s meetings will be critical in determining if we’ll have a season starting later this month, or if the standoff between the two sides widens. Here’s hoping for the former!

LA PRESSE: Marc Antoine Godin reports the NHL is rumored to be considering the addition of two more teams by 2015-16, with one in Canada (either Quebec City or Southern Ontario) and the other possibly in Seattle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Relocation, not expansion!

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings owner Mike Illich’s Olympia Development group is pitching its plans for a new downtown arena in Detroit worth $650 million.


  1. Spector,

    First, as I came here for the morning update, it occurred to me how much this sucks. It’s December 5. We should be reading about potential trades that could happen before the Christmas freeze. But instead, we’re talking about whether we’ll even have hockey.

    I agree with you about about cautious optimism, but I think there is a big difference this year. In the prior lockout, I don’t believe anybody realistically thought that the NHL would go through with canceling the season. I think the players thought that the NHL would ultimately cave. I think this year, everybody is fully aware that it could happen again, and that has to be on the back of everybody’s minds.

    I also think that the issues resolved in the prior lockout were much bigger. We were going from a fully unregulated and uncapped environment to a hard cap. That was obviously going to get more resistance. Based on what I’ve read, this year’s lockout is a tweak of that system.

  2. Oh… and I like expansion, especially to Canada. 2 conferences and 8 divisions of 4 or 4 divisions of 8. Seattle would also be a good addition.

    If you added a team in Quebec City and Seattle, then you move Winnipeg to the Western conference, Detroit to the East, and all is right in the world.

    As long as were on it, can we change the conference and division names back to Patrick, Campbell, etc.

  3. We have to take the optimism with a grain of salt but i am not as surprised as most that it went well.
    As in baseball 1994 once Fehr and his nonsense was removed from talks a deal was worked out pretty quick.

    • You are an idoit

  4. Even if they make significant progress at these meetings, don’t the owners still have to get enough votes to end the lockout? What’s to stop the other owners (not in attendance) to say “we don’t like this deal?”
    Anybody care to explain what would happen next?

  5. @baboo22

    I don’t think a deal would be reached or announced unless Bettman knew that he had the votes from the owners.

  6. @ Baboo

    I agree with your question, however, I think (hope), that given the fact that there has been positive traction gained and talks continue, that neither side could say realistically “I don’t like that deal” as they have chosen representatives on either side that are both hardline and moderates. These negotiations are seemingly moving forward and apparently in good faith so here is hoping that a deal can be made, with the heads of either side “rubber stamping” the progress made and continuously moving forward.

  7. Hey TRC: did you also take note of the fact that there was optimism on a deal getting done with Bettman not in attendance? You pointed out that Fehr was not at the meeting but you forgot to mention that progress was made once Bettman and his Napoleonic attitude was removed from the mix.
    While I am not a fan of Bettman I still give the man his dues and admit that he is one intelligent and tough negotiator but when he encounters someone who I believe is his equal his “little man’s syndrome” causes him to become angry, engage in temper tantrums and cause unneeded animosity. I believe that Donald Fehr studied what went wrong the last time the union and the league negotiated and so armed went into these negotiations with 100% of the players backing and while keeping the lines of communication between himself and the players open also wouldn’t capitulate to Bettman’s demands, which in turn pissed little Gary off. If it hadn’t then why we’re there those 10 minute so called meetings where he walked out looking like someone stole his lunch money.

    • I repeat the above:

      Funny, isn’t it, that historically as soon as Don Fehr is removed from negotiations (in either baseball or hocke), reasonable people come to reasonable agreements.

      I think he served his purpose, get the owners to the furthest position possible.
      But then had to be removed for the deal to be done.

      Really good negotiator? Maybe.
      With his combination of starting the negos a year late, coming hours late to meetings, never making a valid offer – all the passive aggressive, unprofessional tactics that he employs?
      Yet maybe that is what it takes.

      On the ither hand history says that he is not a closer – needed a face-saving way to be removed.
      Thank you, Gary.

      Bettmen is brilliant, as usual.
      You can bet that the owners will be very happy with the finished product.

      So let the good times roll.


  8. I encourage everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Cautious optimism is different than a deal being done and a starting date for the season being announced.
    As has happened every time previous when it looked as though things were going in the right direction, the owners find something else that presents them with a problem and so the negotiations are stalled.
    I too would like to see a season, even an abbreviated season announced but I remain pessimistically optimistic and will be waiting for further updates.

  9. I hope for a few things in a new CBA
    1. No more front loaded contracts
    2. 10 years or more for the length of the CBA
    3. Max of 5 years on contracts.
    4. A way to trade cap space so more trades can happen.

  10. Sorry rattus rattus, but I must whole heartedly disagree with your assessment that Gary Bettman is brilliant. While I respect your opinion as well as others on this site, as long as what they have to say is said with courtesy and civility, I must comment that referring to a man brilliant who has led three work stoppages during his 18 year reign is a bit of an exaggeration, especially after he proclaimed his last agreement a panacea between the league and the union for many, many years to come. I would not call anyone brilliant who has mismanage expansion to the point where the NHL has had to relocate several franchises and in fact had to completely take over the Phoenix Coyotes.
    I will give Bettman credit for being able to ingratiate himself with approximately 8 of the more hawkish owners and I would even call him clever for maneuvering the owners into passing a resolution allowing him and just eight other votes to makes moves and speak for the majority of (21 or 22) other owners. I see Bettman more as unctuous or obsequious, possibly even a sycophant, but brilliant, surely not.

  11. the nhl should not expand. the small market teams should be put in a second division like european soccer.

  12. Well, let’s see:

    He’s a graduate of Cornell, but you probably did better.

    He has increased NHL revenue from $400 mill to over $3 billion during his tenure, but anybody could have done that.

    He has increased the footprint of the League to one that spans the continent.
    And you may not like it, but long-range the big bucks are in the US market.
    Takes time, and yes there will be setbacks/broken eggs , but long-range this is about business and making bucks – not about providing the purists with their original six dreams of yore.
    But anyone could have done that.

    He has made the owners a bucketful of money, and I think his salary has been upped from 3 to 8 mill since the last last lockout.
    But anyone could have done that.
    And you think he has “ingratiated himself to 8 owners” only? You’re kidding yourself.

    He saved 4 small market Cdn franchises during the years of the 62 cent Cdn dollar through his support programme.
    But anyone could have done that.
    And where are the Grizzlies and the Expos, my dear?

    Franchises have had trouble, yes.
    Not like in the NBA,for example?

    Yup, QC and Winn left.
    Incidentally they were WHA franchises.
    Look around, how many of them do you see left in the League, and ask yourself why it’s still there.

    He went out and found a buyer and a great owner for the Habs (my own team) when nobody here in Quebec would even go near the idea and when tickets for the Habs were routinely given away.
    But anyone could have done that.

    He got Feht out of the room in a face-saving gesture, and things are moving again.
    But, anyone could have done that.

    What he didn’t do was that he NEVER said that the 2004 CBA was a “panacea” – show me the quote.
    Like anything else, these things are a process, and one stretching over decades.This CBA will have holes too – they all do.
    Try to think a bit bigger and more long-term.

    He rides herd on 30 huge egos, and tries to maintain a League where spmeone might want to buy in.
    But everyone thinks they could do better, anybody could do that. You too, right?

    He takes all the venom that the jock/high school grad/ media types pour at him.
    TheyNEED a villain, makes it easy.
    Must be Buttman the cause of all this, must be.
    Yeah, let’s keep it simple for the feebs.

    Can’t be that it’s his employers, or that he believes that the owners might be right, or that he does a great job in the context that his job was offered to him.

    Because look at him.
    How could anyone who looks and sounds like that possibly be sincere?
    After all – what he looks and sounds like are his fault yeah, not his genes?
    Whereas his education and his success, well that’s because he’s “ingratiating”.

    So let’s see, how did you do in the name-calling/villification department?
    “Ingratiating”, “unctuous”, “obsequious”, “sycophant”
    Why, that sounds a lot like Uriah Heep (look it up), doesn’t it?

    Why don’t you come right out and say “Jewish”?
    I’ve heard this stuff all my life.

    Oh, and by the way, as for “courtesy and civility” – they are much over-rated when it comes to closet anti-semites.


  13. Excuse me rattus rattus: at no time have I nor would I ever sink so low as to revert to throwing someone’s race or religious affiliation at them as as slur and while I thought you were someone with whom I could engage in a friendly bit of back and forth banter, sadly I now see that you are not. 
    If you see someone described as unctuous, obsequious and/or a sycophant and immediately believe that those words are just another negative way of describing someone who is Jewish then you need to broaden your scope or at the very least rein in your imagination. I don’t know what causes you to lash out and start name calling when words containing more than four letters are used to describe someone, but given your level of animosity I am worried for you.
    I will still remain as courteous and as civil as possible to you, notwithstanding how little you think of people who choose to be, no matter that you, if I am not mistaken have just called me a “closet anti-Semite” and if I didn’t find that so absurd to be laughable I might actually take umbrage at your slander. 
    As an aside, I am quite familiar with Uriah Heep both Mr. Dicken’s character as well as the band by the same name, although you chose not to indicate which I should be looking up and why. For arguments sake if you were referring to the David Copperfield version then you would note that he was defined as an insincere yes man, which is exactly what I believe Bettman is and nothing else was intended nor was it indicated. 
    What I have learned from this is that you are someone with whom it is best I do not try to engage in any type of friendly banter, especially God forbid, I happen to disagree with you. So in the future rest assured that at no time will I respond to anything you post and that way you won’t have to try and invent other names to call me.