NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA director Donald Fehr take about each other yesterday, but neither side as yet appears ready to resume formal CBA talks anytime soon.


Bill Daly believes the NHL will return this season.

Bill Daly believes the NHL will return this season.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle cited an interview NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had with Hockey Night in Canada radio yesterday, where Daly expressed the opinion there would be an NHL season, possibly by mid-January. More games, however, are expected to be cancelled between now and then, which is also considered the “drop dead date” for an agreement to be reached in order to stage a meaningful season.

Daly also noted the league is working on various compilations for staging a possibly shortened season. He dismissed NHLPA director Donald Fehr’s claim the two sides aren’t that far apart on several issues. When Fehr was subsequently asked about Daly’s reply that a season was possible, the PA director said he hoped Daly was right.

Eric Duhatschek, meanwhile, reports the Canadian appetite for the NHL will likely endure following this lockout. Even if the overall NHL brand suffers, support for Canadian teams should remain strong. The real challenges, however, will be in markets (Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado, Florida, Carolina, Long Island, Anaheim) which would face real challenges even without a lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadian support will remain strong, but even that could take a hit as fans grow weary of the never-ending contentious labor relationship between owners and players. As for Daly’s optimism, I’ll believe it when I see it. Mirtle also wondered on Twitter yesterday if Daly would have to fine himself for his comments. 

ESPN.COM: Donald Fehr also said yesterday the NHLPA is ready and willing to resume CBA talks anywhere at anytime, but is waiting for league negotiators to feel the same way. Daly, meanwhile, said the league is willing to resume talks under the right conditions. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, reports uncertainty over the status of CBA talks hung over last night’s charity game between locked-out NHL players at Maple Leaf Gardens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So both sides continue to jockey with each other publicly, whilst doing little – if any –  work toward a resolution. The league wants the PA to accept its latest offer or come forward with another proposal, while the PA believes it’s already made another proposal and needs the league to be more flexible. Blah, blah, blah, and nothing gets done, while the clock ticks toward mid-January.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman, in his weekly “30 Thoughts” column, believes the two sides are staging a waiting game, as both sides are hoping to ramp up the pressure on each other as the time for reaching a resolution winds down.

USA TODAY: Mike Brehm reports Fehr disputes the league’s contentions that the PA’s threat of filing disclaimer of interest is merely a negotiating tactic.

BLOOMBERG.COM/TIME.COM: Both slam NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman for doing a poor job running the league, listing the failure of southern-based American franchises and the lack of meaningful revenue sharing among the reasons.

SI.COM: Steve Rushin wonders how many people (read: Americans) really miss NHL hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the trend running in the last three reports. The lockout is hurting the NHL brand, especially in the United States, and particularly in the league’s struggling American markets.

CSNNE.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is recovering from sugery he underwent in early October “for thoracic outlet syndrome after a blood clot developed under his collarbone.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to the Cornwall, PEI native in his ongoing recovery.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: How pucks are made.