NHL seeks a two week “time out” from CBA talks with NHLPA, assessing the lockout damage thus far, former NHL players weigh in on the lockout, and more.
SPORTSNET.CA/CANADIAN PRESS: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested a two-week moratorium on CBA talks to NHLPA director Donald Fehr “after Bettman received a phone call from Donald Fehr on Wednesday in which the NHLPA executive director said he didn’t know how the sides could proceed from their current stalemate.” Fehr told Bettman he needed to bounce that off his membership before responding.. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, meanwhile, claimed “I’m more discouraged now than I have been at any point in the process”
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The rhetoric between the two sides has increased. Daly claimed the PA “continue to request a “guaranteed” Players Share as part of the next agreement and we repeatedly tell them maybe they should get a reality check. And in the mean time, maybe they can make their position clear to us on 50-50, on the make-whole and on Player Contracting issues.”
NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr responded, “The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars. What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t. So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?”
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard noted a recent tweet by TSN’s Darren Dreger where players keep telling him “they’re optimistic a deal will get done, while owners tell me they have no confidence in that.” Leonard suggests the reason is ”the players, in a sense, are winning”.
He believes the league has mishandled several pivotal junctures of the negotiations, the PA called the league’s bluff on a September 16 “take it or leave it” deadline on a CBA proposal, only to see the league make another offer a month later. Leonard cited off-the-record accounts claiming last week’s negotiations went south after Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs (perhaps the most hawkish of the owners) joined the talks on Tuesday and Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pessimistic tone from the league could be genuine, but most analysis I’ve read and heard of late suggests it is merely a negotiation tactic, as is Bettman’s suggestion of a two-week moratorium on CBA talks. It’s believed the league is hoping the two weeks of silence might put more pressure upon the players – and consequently, upon the Fehr brothers – to cut a deal, lest they risk more cancellations and the eventual loss of the season. While both sides fiddle, the 2012-13 schedule continues to burn away.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this lockout is ended in December, there will be enough time to recoup most of the losses from this season, woo back the fans, and begin assuring fans and sponsors future labor unrest can be avoided. If another season is lost, however, it will leave a permanent scar upon the league’s brand. How big and how deep remains to be seen.
WINNIPEG SUN/TORONTO STAR: Opinions from some former NHL players (Eric Lindros, Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and Paul Coffey), while a couple of former NHL players (Mark Recchi, Chris Therrien) question the direction of the NHLPA leadership.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Hockey Night in Canada personality Don Cherry may have lost his regular Saturday night “Coach’s Corner” pulpit during this lockout, but that hasn’t prevented him from speaking out.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The lockout has allowed Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to shake the lingering effects of post-concussion symptoms.
NEW YORK POST: Locked-out Rangers and Flyers will joined other locked-out NHLers in staging a charity game to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.