Check out the latest NHL CBA headlines, reaction to the Islanders move from Uniondale to Brooklyn, and the Blue Jackets officially hire John Davidson as team president.
TSN.CA: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday suggested the possibility of the league playing a full 82-game schedule appears unlikely. The league’s deadline for reaching an agreement to save the entire season is today but the two sides appear no closer to reaching a resolution. Both took turns blaming the other via the media yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blah-diddy-blah-blah. Both sides are posturing right now. It’s brinkmanship. The league set a deadline to save the entire season in hopes of putting pressure upon the players to accept the league’s proposal, or at least negotiate off it. The NHLPA, meanwhile, sees this as an artificial deadline and a pressure tactic and refuses to bend. No one should be surprised by any of this.
TORONTO SUN: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports a league insider claims the two sides currently appear at an impasse after making some movement last week toward a meaningful solution. Other sources say the players believe the league never had any intention of making a deal prior to November, feel the league has yet to make its best offer, and is currently engaged in posturing. It’s expected the league will cancel another block of games on Friday, likely four weeks’ worth this time. It’s believed some hard-line owners would support Bettman if he were to cancel the entire season, but Garrioch claims that won’t happen because neither side honestly wants to lose the entire season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once the calendar flips to November, and after the league cancels a month’s worth of games tomorrow, that’s when I anticipate the negotiations will become more serious. American Thanksgiving remains, for me at least, the truly urgent deadline, for if there’s no deal in place by then, bye-bye Winter Classic, and the rest of the season could truly be in jeopardy.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun believes it is time for both sides to check their egos at the door and get back to serious negotiations. “There are two ways to get out of this ridiculous logjam: either the league clarifies officially to the players that it does indeed have some flexibility when it comes to the rest of the framework of the deal; or the NHLPA drums up a new offer.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: From your lips to God’s ears, Pierre.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: US president Barack Obama was on The Tonight Show last night, where host Jay Leno asked what he would do to end the NHL Lockout. Obama said he believed both sides had the means to get a deal done, urging them to “figure this out”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Obama isn’t a hockey fan, but his answer was a valid (albeit generic ) one, aimed at not just the NHL, but all pro sports, as the NBA (Obama’s favorite sports league) and NFL went through lockouts this time a year ago. He’s right, too. Both sides are making a lot of money, and they have the means to settle this to their mutual benefit.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The lockout is killing the momentum the Carolina Hurricanes had built up among local sports fans with their notable off-season moves, such as trading for Jordan Staal and signing Alexander Semin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also think it’s hurting the NHL product in other non-traditional hockey markets, but the owners of those teams aren’t driving the league’s bus in these CBA negotiations with the PA.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Sports lawyer Eric Marcramalla explains Russian players have few legal options to get out of their NHL contracts if they wish to remain with the KHL following the NHL lockout.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks praised the New York Islanders move from Uniondale and the crumbling Nassau Coliseum to Brooklyn and the brand new (albeit smaller) Barclays Center.
NEWSDAY: Neil Best reports league commissioner Gary Bettman dismissed the smaller size of Barclays Center as unimportant, noting it is possible to expand the seating to over 15,000. Best also reports team owner Charles Wang said the team won’t be changing its name or crest. Steve Zipay reports many long-time Islanders fans are unhappy over the news the club will be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, while Celeste Hadrick reports the move will have little economic impact for Nassau County.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wang had no choice. He’d tried for a decade to get a new arena built, but local officials were reluctant to commit tax dollars toward the project, while a referendum of local votes rejected such a plan. At least Wang is keeping the team in the New York area, rather than moving it to Kansas City (as he’d once hinted at doing), Seattle or Quebec City.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets yesterday officially announced the hiring of former St. Louis Blues president John Davidson as their new president of hockey operations.