In today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines: NHL rejects NHLPA offer to meet, fallout from league’s attempt to allow GMs to speak to players regarding CBA, the league won’t lose players under contract to Europe post-lockout, and John Davidson close to joining the Columbus Blue Jackets.
ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA DETROIT FREE PRESS): The NHL has rejected an offer from the NHLPA to continue CBA negotiations this week, all but killing hope of playing a full 82-game schedule this season. League commissioner Gary Bettman had set October 25th as a deadline for reaching an agreement which would salvage the full schedule.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More brinksmanship by the league, hoping to pressure the PA into either accepting the NHL’s latest CBA proposal or at least negotiate off it. TSN’s hockey panel of Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun last night suggested a bit of “wiggle room” still existed to implement a full schedule beyond that October 24th deadline, but they didn’t sound confident that could happen. I believe the notion of a full 82-game schedule was unrealistic, long anticipating since the implementation of this lockout if there is NHL hockey this season, it’ll be under a shortened schedule.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun suggests the key for a deal revolves around the “make whole” mechanism contained in the league’s latest 50-50 proposal and one of the PA’s counter-proposals. The “make whole” concept was deferring players escrow payments to a later date, while the PA believes the owners should honor existing contracts. LeBrun suggests one possible solution could be easing in the reduction of the players share to a 50-50 split, rather than the immediate implementation the league is seeking.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That solution is the one which makes the most sense, but would require the league be willing to be flexible on the matter, and the players to be willing to accept a phasing in strategy.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: An attempt by the NHL (revealed via a leaked league memo) to allow general managers a 48-hour window to make direct appeals to the players regarding the league’s latest CBA proposal was met with scorn from the NHLPA.
ESPN.COM/SPORTSNET.CA/SPORTING NEWS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL/SI.COM/OTTAWA CITIZEN: The reaction from much of the NHL punditry was scathing, suggesting the league may have jeopardized its hopes of implementing an 82-game schedule by trying to do an “end run” around the PA leadership to appeal directly to the players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My take on the situation can be found in my latest Soapbox.
NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos explains why the threats by some Russian players under NHL contracts to remain overseas following the NHL lockout are empty ones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve also recently offered up my take on why European players under NHL contracts won’t be able to remain overseas once the lockout ends.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers coach John Tortorella is worried about the effect a lockout could have upon his roster when the league finally returns to action.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay he’s not the only NHL head coach feeling the same way about their respective rosters.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Jaromir Jagr believes chances of resolving the NHL lockout are better after the first month of the season is over.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Former St. Louis Blues president John Davidson is reportedly close to a deal which could see him join the Columbus Blue Jackets.