The latest on the apparently-stalled NHL CBA negotiations, plus the latest on Alexander Ovechkin, Flyers owner Ed Snider and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: (citing ASSOCIATED PRESS): The NHL and NHLPA negotiators met Saturday for an informal lunch following four increasingly contentious days of CBA talks. No further discussions were scheduled, but league deputy commissioner Bill Daly and PA special counsel Steve Fehr were to meet either Saturday or Sunday to set up the next round of talks.
TSN.CA/CANADIAN PRESS: A new issue has cropped up in negotiations, that being how to deal with the financial implications of playing a shortened season once a new agreement has been reached.
“According to Fehr, the NHLPA is pushing for the sides to draft the framework of a CBA as though a full season is going to be played before later determining how to account for the shortened schedule in Year 1…”
“The NHL would prefer to work off percentages rather than fixed increases because they come with built-in protection, particularly if business is slow to recover from the lockout….”
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo calls for both sides to put aside their anger and get back to the negotiating table.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen, meanwhile, suggest the NHL must negotiate with NHLPA director Donald Fehr, rather than attack him.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks also suggests the league negotiate with Fehr rather than attack him. He also cited two sources reporting the following exchange between Fehr and Bettman on Friday:
“Near the end of the meeting, Don [Fehr] said to Gary [Bettman]: ‘Let me get this straight. Even if the players agree to every single component of the league’s economic plan, we still don’t have a deal unless we also agree to every one of your proposed changes to player contract rights?’ ”
To which, both of our sources reported, “Gary said: ‘Yes.’”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least the two sides are planning to set up more meetings, which I’m assuming will follow the HHOF Induction Ceremony on Monday… Disagreement over financial implications of a shortened season? Great, another stumbling block!…Both sides must lay off the mudslinging and get serious about bringing this lockout to an end. Attempting to drive a wedge between Fehr and the players, or leaking comments about what Bettman may or may not have said to Fehr isn’t helping this process. Again, I’m not blaming the media, they’ve got a job to do, and reporting information from reliable sources is part of it. I’m blaming the league and the PA for sniping at each other through the media. Stop wasting everyone’s time and get back to negotiations! Hockey fans are tired of your antics, and just want an end to this lockout, the sooner the better.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin took to Twitter to chastise the NHL owners, calling them “clowns” for attacking Fehr.
SPORTING NEWS: Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider recently expressed his disappointment the current NHL season is on hold. “”I’m awfully disappointed that we’re not playing hockey, but there’s not a thing I can do about it except just keep my fingers crossed and hope somehow it can come together,” Snider said.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both sides are free to share their opinions, only one side is more free to do so than the other.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside reports the current NHL labor woes aren’t darkening the current Hockey Hall of Fame inductions weekend. Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates are this year’s inductees. Craig Custance, meanwhile, offers up some ways the NHL can win back fans following the end of this lockout, including a double-header Winter Classic, and free NHL Center Ice and Gamecenter for everyone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This stupid lockout will still hover like a dark cloud over the inductions of Sakic, Bure, Sundin and Oates into the HHOF, just as previous work stoppages did at various points in their respective careers…Great suggestions by Custance. Pity the league won’t do any of them.
NATIONAL POST: Former NHL star Jeremy Roenick doesn’t suffer his critics lightly on Twitter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tip for Roenick: don’t feed the trolls. There’s a block feature on Twitter. Use it. No need to make threats of physical violence or legal action.