NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines – November 30, 2012.

Mediation talks between NHL & NHLPA break down with no resolution, Bettman proposes players & owners meet, a call for NHL contraction, and more.

CANADIAN PRESS (VIA NATIONAL POST): Chris Johnston reports two days of mediation failed to break the stalemate in NHL CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA. “The union thought it had moved quite close to the NHL last week when it offered a 50-50 split of revenues and $393 million in transition payments, but the league was unwilling to move off its latest proposal”, reports Johnston, who also noted the league’s latest offer still remains on the table. Speculation could only grow the PA might consider decertification or disclaiming interest as a means of putting pressure upon the NHL owners to end the lockout.

Mediation fails to end NHL lockout.

THE SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector believes the mediation talks were only the league’s way of killing time and putting more pressure upon the players to capitulate. It’s clear now the lockout is more than just about money, as player contract rights are becoming more of a sticking point than anyone originally believed.

SPORTSNET.CA: John Shannon believes by next Wednesday’s NHL Board of Governors meeting the debate over NHLPA decertification will grow. He feels decertification is real and could happen quickly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Disclaiming interest would take place faster than decertification. In a nutshell, the PA leadership declares it no longer represents the NHL players, allowing them to then file a lawsuit against the league to have the lockout declared illegal, but as CBC’s Dan Oldfield (via Elliotte Friedman) observed, the league could try to counter that by suspending operations, which prevents anti-trust lawsuits. Oldfield suggests the PA will instead file an unfair labor practice complaint.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed a select group of owners and players should meet without league or PA negotiators present in hopes of finding some common ground toward a resolution. The PA leadership is reportedly discussing this option. LeBrun suggests if he were in the PA he’d invite all 30 NHL owners to attend, except for Bruins owner and Board of Governor chairman Jeremy Jacobs, who is the harshest of the league hardliners.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggests Bettman’s offer “smells like a trap” and “seems like a PR move”, but nevertheless suggests it might be worthwhile trying since everything else has failed at this point. He also advocates all the owners, or at least a cross-section, of them to attend, and allow the players to have legal representation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if the PA agrees to this, as the early word emerging from their camp was they consider Bettman’s offer merely “a stunt”. Still, if they do surprise me and agree to this, I don’t see them condoning a players meeting with the owners without legal counsel. I’ve also heard the league wants to select the players to attend the meeting. If so, the only fair thing is to allow the PA to select the owners to attend. I agree with LeBrun that Jacobs shouldn’t be part of the negotiations. Word is every time he attends negotiations, whatever progress was made immediately stalls.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Former NHLPA president Trevor Linden said  if he had to do it again he’d get involved in NHL CBA negotiations. “It’s disappointing to see the game not being where it should be — and that’s on the ice,” he said Thursday. “I follow (the dispute), but it’s not my issue anymore. So I’m happy to be on the sidelines.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The headline is misleading as it makes it sound as though Linden were offering up his services. He’s not, nor do I expect the PA or the league would come calling to ask him to get involved.

 NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Long time LA Kings PA announcer David Courtney has passed away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Courtney’s family, friends, the Kings organization and fans.

7 Comments

  1. I’m really sorry to hear about Courtney. That’s incredibly sad. His voice at Staples Center is about as much a fixture as Bob Miller is to television.

  2. When I first read Bettman’s comment about the players meeting with the owners, my first thought was that it was a tactical move, and that Bettman thought there might be a weakness amongst the players. Cherry-picking attendees by either side seems counter-productive.

  3. OK once again the season is dead. how can you invite all the owners except one. that will never happen. remember they only need a certain number to pass the contract. the other live with it or sell!

  4. Everything, and I mean everything that Gary Bettman does in this lockout is a tactical move. He has a gameplan and works off of it no matter what the PA throws at him. I don’t mean to say that Fehr doesn’t have a gameplan as well and I am sure that he is just as adamant about sticking to it as Bettman is to his, Bettman has one thing going for him that the players do not and that is patience. The owners have years and years to make up any and all losses that this lock-out leaves them with while the players have a small window of opportunity to make as much money as possible before they end up with jobs like beer reps for breweries etc.
    Having the players meet with the owners to have the previous fact thrown in their faces is not the wisest move they could make. They are either going to stick this out and negotiate something useful out of it or they may as well fold now.

    • While this may sound funny, I trust Bettman. When the lockout happened in 2005, I was firmly against the cap and on the side of the players. In my opinion, the cap has ruined the NFL. Yes, I know of the NFL’s success, but I think there are a lot of other factors that come into play. I was tired of seeing the cap decimate teams, players getting $20 million signing bonuses who had never played an NFL game, and I pictured the same happening in the NHL.

      But the cap Bettman put in place has worked out well, and he was completely correct. For this reason, I have to beleive that Bettman is looking at the big picture and he needs to get much of what he’s asking for. I don’t buy into this idea that the owners are just greedy and want to rob the players. If they’re willing to risk the entire season, they must know what they’re doing.

  5. The only way to get it resolved is to get rid of Bettman and Fehr, and let the guys who are involved and losing money make decisions. Ie owners and players.

    • Lyle,

      Let’s hope the players meeting with the owners brings about some movement. I suspect that there’s less upside for the players, and that Bettman’s goal is to create a rift between the players. The owners can, I think, more easily sway some of the players. I can’t see the players splitting the owners, but you never know.