NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2013.

NHL and NHLPA speaking through a mediator as CBA negotiations slow to a crawl entering Day 112 of the NHL lockout.

NHL CBA negotiations will continue through mediator Scot Beckenbaugh.

NHL CBA negotiations will continue through mediator Scot Beckenbaugh.

CANADIAN PRESS (VIA WINNIPEG FREE PRESS): Chris Johnston reports the only talking between the NHL and NHLPA on Friday was through US federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who spent most of the day and evening walking between NHL HQ and the NHLPA’s hotel for a handful of independent sessions with both sides. It’s unclear when the two sides will sit down again for face-to-face negotiations.

TSN.CA: Analyst Aaron Ward reports mediation will continue at 10.30 am ET today. Darren Dreger credits the mediator for creating enough traction to keep the process moving, and also reported NHL owners will not be returning to the CBA talks. The main sticking points remain the salary cap for 2013-14, the length of player contracts and players’ pensions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact the two sides continue to speak via a mediator demonstrates a willingness to keep things moving, rather than risk another breakdown in talks with the January 11th deadline for a deal looming. It’s definitely better than where we were a week and a half ago, when there was no formal talks taking place.

Dreger has reported the PA might be willing to come down from its demand for an eight year term on player contracts, while Pierre LeBrun feels the NHL might be willing to come up from its demand of a $60 million salary cap for 2013-14 to perhaps as high as $62.5 million. Obviously, there is “wiggle room” on both issues to reach a reasonable compromise. The league accepts 7-year term limits, the PA accepts a $62.5 million salary cap.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman examines the role mediator Beckenbaugh is playing in these negotiations.  The mediators is “not going to reveal to one side what the other is thinking. Notice the section in the FAQ about confidentiality. Beckenbaugh has to be very careful that he does not reveal what the NHL is thinking to the NHLPA and vice versa. So, when he’s shaping the conversation, he can’t do it in a way that’s going to give away the opponent’s strategy or thought process.”

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman angered the players taking part in the NHL CBA negotiations on Thursday by claiming a number of NHL general managers had told him they regret some of the contracts they’d previously handed out and would welcome the opportunity to “dismantle”  their teams to become cap compliant when the salary cap drops for 2013-14. When pressed by the players to name those GMs, Bettman refused, leading Brooks to cite this incident as one reason why negotiations stalled on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If what Brooks’ sources told him is true, this was a serious miscalculation on Bettman’s part.  I fail to see what he believed he could gain by angering the players that way.

NATIONAL POST: Bruce Arthur reports anger and mistrust  between the two sides are the factors delaying negotiations.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jame O’Brien cited a “tweet” from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos the NHLPA already has the votes it needs to approve the executive to file a disclaimer of interest, though they haven’t set a timing to make such a move at this time. O’Brien also cited a reports from RDS.CA’s Renaud Lavoie claiming the NHLPA would like to see the minimum player salary increase to $800K by the ninth year of a ten-year CBA. O’Brien suggests that number might not be as outrageous as it seems, considering how much the NHL’s revenue has been growing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits doubt NHL revenue will keep rising by the same average annual amount (7 percent) as it did under the previous CBA. Regardless, as long as there’s steady growth over the ten year period, it will result in a steady increase in salaries, which could also drive up the minimum salary. As for the disclaimer, I think NHLPA director Donald Fehr will hold off playing that card unless talks irrevocably break down. CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio suggested via Twitter the PA might be awaiting the results of the vote by 6 pm ET today, and then return to the table on Sunday.

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside chastises both sides for flushing away the millions of dollars they could’ve earned had they begun the season on January 12th.

SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange questions the players’ tack in these negotiations, wondering what they stand to gain by stretching out negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason was there was no other tack to take. Waiting for a better offer has worked well for the players, forcing the league to soften its demands. The players are well aware how much money they’re losing in the short term. This is about getting a deal which will benefit them over the long term.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby could sign with a European club if the NHL follows through with its threat to cancel the season by January 11 if no new CBA is in place by then.

CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid continues his recovery from multiple blood clot surgeries on his arm. If the NHL returns to action this month, McQuaid could remain sidelined through February.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Wren Blair, the first coach of the Minnesota North Stars, has passed away at the age of 87.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to the Blair family.

5 Comments

  1. The NHL & its dirty tactics is what has been the issue with this process the whole time!!!!

    The owners are greedy and very much not to be trusted at any point and every turn ……thats why they are rich !!! Not becuase they are honest people !!!!

    Michael Grange should keep to just reporting the facts and stop speculating on the actions as he is not a player and has nothing to gain or loose from this…he is a reporter just report not speculate!!!!!

    The fact that NHL tried to pull a fast one and slip a sequence of events and words in between the lines of an agreement and tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the players in the heat of battle and negotiations in the 11 th hour is the main reason the players are pressing …….and holding out …becuase Donald Fehr has caught the the NHL at every turn trying to screw the players with dirty tactics and shoty deals ….why doesnt anyone with half a brain see this ….the NHLPA should be counting there blessings they have Fehr and his team or they would have had the stick up the whazooo a long time ago ….good for you players ….( and FEHR) The NHL has been trying to manhandle you guys since this process began in the last CBA and they have taken these players for granted AGAIN …..thinking these guys are mindless hockey players and not bright men who care and have values and can actually broker a business deal ….guess wht NHL they can …your egos are way to BIG …..the owners arent the smartest 30 people on the planet and Gary Bettman isnt either….just becuase you screw everyone else doesnt mean it can happen all the time especiially in a public forum …….I cant stand main stream media and why the dirty tactics of the NHL and its consortium havent been exposed ……when is a TRUE journalist and reprter going to take this on and expose the 30 owners and the dirty deals they do to make them wealthy and prove to the world the players are doing what they need to do to be treated fairly in a lopsided negotiation …….

    Heres a little secret to the owners …….THE PLAYERS ARE THE GAME!!!!!! You make money off the broken backs and cracked heads like Ceasar and gladiators ……its just a different era …..in the end its the owners who screw each other and have ruined the game with there greed of competing for players like buying high quality cattle at an auction in Alberta ….every wants the best steed and are willing to trample on each other with bags of momney to get them …..now the owners want a $60 million cap …WTF is that ….that means you have one or 2 good players to be a franchise player who sells are your merchandise ….and then your left with 17 other players that you have to pay less than $2million who should be playing in the AHL or worse ……..all the cap hit does is water down the league and keeps some of the best players in the world in the minors and in Europe because all the teams cant afford to see how they will do in the NHl becuase they have spent to the cap and cant fit any players in for years once these deals are signed for the roster …….with the owners and Bettman playing this game all they do is sell the game increase revenue and keep the best players out of the NHL and make more money on a underachieving product and greater revenue ……its like paying Mexicans or Chinese to play in the NHL ….

    The owners and Bettman are ruining the game with bad expansion destinations and watering down the league by not paying the quality players the true value and with this are creating a league that is simply a JOKE !!!!!

    • It’s good to see less and less management support on here. Bettman has no respect for the players, who he just sees as a product. I hope that there are enough owners who are intelligent enough and who love the game enough to jettison the bastard before he ruins the sport completely! As for the GM’s who screw the system by looking for loopholes, perhaps the buyout period should include them as well (see ya Sather).

  2. Just end the season so no more blah blah every day. It is just like when Sundin was where he was going to play

  3. I hear a lot of nonsense coming out of the mouth of Doug MacLean and others who demonize Don Fehr. Well, Fehr is doing his best to minimize the damage to the players in a battle they were destined to lose. So, lay off Fehr, already! The demon here is Gary Bettman who has lied consistently, baited, angered, and who is unequivocally responsible for this whole mess. He has behaved petulently and allowed his monumental New York ego to come close to blowing this league up. Don’t blame Fehr for this, you morons. Yes, the players are overpaid, and yes, they need to remember that they are players. However, the owners are the ones who negotiated these outrageous deals. And…..since when do any of us, as employees allow our bosses to lie, cheat, bully, and steal from us???? We’d be on the picket line so fast! Perhaps, the Teamsters should represent the players. Better yet, start a new league, based in Canada, with teams from Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Chicago, Detroit, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Philly, with Shanahan as commissioner. Someone tell Bettman and his losing expansion teams to fuck off.

  4. Bring in replacements….75% of todays players will be gone in 5 years anyway.

    20 of 30 clubs lost money.

    Eliminate 6 teams and 120 players jobs. 4 divisions of 6 teams.

    The crest on the front is more important than the names on the back of the jerseys.