NHL and NHLPA resume CBA negotiations, analysis of the NHL’s “Make Whole” offer, and a season-killing lockout could be good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Is a thaw coming in the NHL-NHLPA “cold war”?

USATODAY: After over two weeks, the NHL and NHLPA resumed “face-to-face” CBA negotiations, as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met  in an “undisclosed location” on Saturday. The talks stretched through the night into early Sunday morning.

SPORTSNET.CA: NHLPA director Donald Fehr released a memo to the players on Friday, advising caution over the latest news of the league’s “make whole” proposal. While Fehr noted there’d been no formal exchanges of offers between the two sides since October 18, he did acknowledge there’d been informal discussions on a series of issues with the league as the two sides hope to find ways to get talks going again, of which the “make whole” option was among them.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL/CBC.CA/TORONTO SUN: Analysis of the “make whole” option by David Shoalts, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Stevenson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s important to note that, while Fehr downplayed Friday’s reports of the league’s offer to pick up the cost of the “make whole” proposal, he didn’t reject the notion outright. That the lieutenants of both sides were willing to meet face-to-face is a positive sign.  Hopefully, it’ll kick-start the negotiations and get them working toward a resolution.

While sorting out the division of hockey-related revenue is, in my opinion, the main issue here, it’s not the only one, as other issues (revenue sharing, contract lengths, arbitration rights, etc) still need to be addressed. I do feel, however, once the main sticking point is resolved, everything else could be quickly worked out, at least in comparison to the division of HRR.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline sees the positive side of a season killing lockout for Blue Jackets fan. It would provide new president of hockey operations John Davidson more time to evaluate the roster needs and how best to address them, a possible shot at the first overall pick next summer if the league goes with a draft lottery akin to 2005, moving the All-Star game for Columbus ahead to a full season, and addressing their salary issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know your team has sucked for years when you’re looking at a season-killing lockout as a positive thing. Portzline’s article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it does illustrate how much work faces John Davidson in his efforts to reverse the Blue Jackets woeful fortunes.