NHL CBA negotiations to resume on Monday, Flyers owner Ed Snider issues statement regarding his support of NHL commissioner Bettman, and more.
CANADIAN PRESS (VIA CBC SPORTS): Mere days after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggested a two-week moratorium on CBA negotiations with the NHLPA, formal talks are scheduled for Monday in New York. “The meeting was requested by the union and it’s their agenda”, said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “We will see what they have to tell us.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If talks last only a couple of hours, expect more predictions of cancelled games in December and pronouncements the end of the season is nigh. On the other hand, talks could be productive and bring the two sides closer to a resolution. Can’t help but wonder how much influence Bettman’s suggestion of a two-week break in talks brought about Monday’s meeting, either by putting more pressure on the PA, or the backlash over taking a needless break at a crucial juncture. At this point, most NHL fans and pundits don’t care who’s right or wrong. We just want this pointless lockout to end.
FLYERS.NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider released a statement yesterday in response to a Philadelphia Daily News article suggesting he was growing impatient and disheartened over Bettman’s handling of CBA negotiations.
“An article appearing in today’s Philadelphia Daily News is absolutely erroneous,” Snider said. “I am a solid supporter of National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and the League in this unfortunate situation.
“Like all fans, players, owners and League officials, I am extremely hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can eventually be playing hockey again soon. League rules prevent me and all owners from making any comments on the labor negotiations. I will continue to honor that and not make any further comments.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: League supporters see this as Snider reacting swiftly to counter an erroneous report. Cynical fans wonder if Snider was pressured into issuing this statement, and just how much truth there was to the report. For the record, Frank Seravalli of the Daily News stands by his story. Someday, when the dust has finally settle from this lockout, we’ll learn the truth.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the NHLPA membership isn’t considering capitulation or decertification at this point, favoring instead continued negotiations with the league. Brooks also cites sources claiming Bettman and Boston Bruins owner (and chairman of the NHL Board of Governors) Jeremy Jacobs are “all but exclusively” plotting the league’s agenda.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A point noted by Brooks is how few of the league’s wealthiest clubs are actively involved in negotiations, which has also been raised in recent weeks by other pundits. As per Jonathan Gatehouse’s excellent biography of Bettman, only a small number of owners wield real power among the BoG. Jacobs is one, Snider another. James Dolan, owner of the NY Rangers, was effectively neutered by Bettman when Dolan tried to battle him over control of the Rangers official website.
Bettman and his small group are firmly in control, but there have been rumors (unsubstantiated, of course) some of the less influential aren’t happy over the course of these negotiations. If Snider really is growing frustrated, that could be a genuine threat to Bettman’s power, as he’d be a strong figure for the disgruntled to rally around. If Snider remains firmly in the commissioner’s camp, it’s unlikely other owners dare challenge Bettman’s authority.
ESPN.COM: James Murphy laments the absence of moderate voices on both sides at the negotiating table, calling for them to step in and let their voices be heard before the season is lost. Despite the PA’s claims of transparency, Murphy claimed some players he’s spoken with don’t know what’s going on with negotiations, while noting a hard line owner like Ottawa’s Eugene Melnyk recently broke the league’s gag order on owners to tell a Toronto radio host he feels the league should be playing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For all the claims of unanimity on both sides, frustration and impatience is leaking through. The moderates on both sides need to make their voices heard, but the problem with being a moderate is they are overshadowed by extremists, who prefer to fight rather than work things out in a sensible way for the common good. Because, y’know, the common good smacks of SOCIALISM! And we just can’t have that…;)
BOSTON GLOBE: Veteran NHL goaltender Dwayne Roloson still hopes to continue playing in the NHL when the lockout ends.
PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL: The city of Glendale is “taking a major step” toward voting on a new arena deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.