As the NHL & NHLPA plan to meet today in New York, speculation abounds over the latter’s next move following the league’s rejection of the PA’s latest proposal.
TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie believes the league will announce the cancellation of games today up to December 15th plus the All-Star Game. He also believes the longer the lockout goes, the less “make whole” dollars the league will offer to the players. As for the speculation the players might consider decertifying the union, McKenzie doesn’t rule out the possibility, but points out such a move is no guarantee it’ll end the lockout.
SPORTSNET.CA: Nick Kypreos examined the pros and cons of decertification, suggesting it could be a “last-ditch” move by the PA to bring the lockout to an end.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle reports Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, exasperated over the league’s reaction to the PA’s recent proposal, enthusiastically supports decertification, but Mirtle points out there’s still time for the league and PA to save the season. Mirtle also reports Roman Hamrlik, who had called out NHLPA director Donald Fehr over the latter’s handling of negotiations, walked back his criticism a little, maintaining support for Fehr, but wishing negotiations had begun sooner.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Hamrlik’s countryman and Washington Capitals teammate Michal Neuvirth voiced his support of the blueliner. “This lockout is not about majority of players, I think. It is about several superstars with big contracts.”
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the league’s rejection of the PA’s proposal has unified the players support of Fehr, as it was a clear indication the league won’t yield on “systemic issues” even though the players were willing to concede on economic ones. “Preparation to decertify, as PA leaders have informed the players — and again on Wednesday, with the subject moved to the front-burner — is not mutually exclusive from pursuing a negotiated settlement with the league”, writes Brooks, who adds decertification and going to court would be risky business.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli sees reasons for optimism that a deal could be reached in December. He also believes decertification would “blow up” this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll provide a more detailed opinion of decertification and Hamrlik’s comments later today in my Soapbox, but regarding the “D” word, I don’t believe the players are at that point yet, but I don’t fully dismiss the possibility, especially if the New Year approaches with no end in sight. The league might merely consider the threat of decertification a bluff. If it goes that far, however, write off this season. By the time the process is complete and the players filed an antitrust suit, there wouldn’t be enough time to salvage a season.
WASHINGTON POST: Thomas Boswell suggests NHL owners are guilty of underestimating Fehr, just as MLB owners did twenty years ago.
VANCOUVER SUN: A frustrated Canucks fan and her husband have cancelled their Canucks season tickets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way for NHL fans to make their voices heard is to hit the league where it hurts: in the wallet. Problem is, I don’t believe enough fans will do that.
FORBES.COM: NHL lockout creates tax residency issue for the players.