The rhetoric between the NHL & NHLPA continues, yet negotiations might still resume soon. Read on for the latest.


Flyers owner ready to break ranks?

PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli cites multiple sources claiming Flyers owner Ed Snider, a long-time supporter of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, may be souring on the lockout process after it became apparent a deal could not be brokered in time for a December 1 puck drop. Seravalli reports Snider and other NHL owners were promised a big win by Bettman, with concessions from the NHLPA on revenue and player contract rights, but it now appears the best they’ll get is a small win on a 50-50 revenue split, “with a demoralized fan base and all-important corporate sponsors that are ready to quit.” One source “familiar with Snider’s thinking characterized it as: “If this is the deal we are going to get, what’s the point of dragging this out?”

Seravalli also cited multiple sources claiming Snider has “strong discontent” for Boston Bruins owners Jeremy Jacobs, considered the leader among the hardline NHL owners. “Despite their on-ice rivalry, there seems to be some thinking that the Flyers are interested in teaming up with the midmarket but high-revenue Pittsburgh Penguins to sway more governors toward a swift resolution. The Rangers are also viewed as anti-lockout.” Another source claimed the Flyers top-level executives made their own CBA proposal nearly three weeks ago to the league. It remains unclear if that proposal was what drove the NHL’s recent lengthy stretch of CBA negotiations with the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If, as Seravalli’s sources claim, Snider is unhappy with the current negotiations and with Jacobs, that could indeed be a “seismic shift” among the NHL Board of Governors. Snider is one of the most influential owners in the league, the longest-serving member on the BoG, and a long-time Bettman supporter. If the Commissioner loses Snider’s support and the Flyers start courting other owners to push for a resolution, it could bring this lockout to a swift conclusion, as well as pose a potential threat to Bettman’s future as commissioner.

 NHL owners are under a gag order by the league, so it’ll be interesting to see the reaction – if any – to this story by Snider and/or the league. This story could also provide further justification for the NHLPA leadership to maintain its own hardline stance, as well as rally the PA membership.

MIAMI HERALD/ASSOCIATED PRESS: Despite reports of the NHL & NHLPA possibly talking a two-week break in CBA negotiations, league deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke briefly with PA special counsel Steve Fehr on Friday, though Daly dismissed it as “nothing really noteworthy”

CBC.CA: NHLPA director Donald Fehr responded to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s suggestion of a two-week break in negotiations by saying he didn’t believe it was a particularly good idea. “The parties are still talking”, said Fehr in a recent interview with Hockey Night in Canada Radio. ” I hope it doesn’t come to that”.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard cited a Yahoo! Sports reports claiming Bettman’s intent for a two-week moratorium on talks was to prove to the union he has no intention of cancelling the season as early as December 1. “Instead of simply telling Fehr that wasn’t true, Bettman — who believed the union felt Dec. 1 was the drop-dead date for the season to be canceled — reportedly suggested two weeks without meetings to prove it”, writes Leonard. “The Yahoo report said Bettman had heard that Fehr told players in an internal conference call that the owners’ “date” was Dec. 1. The Canadian Press first reported on Thursday night that Bettman had recommended the 14-day dark period, even though the league is expected to cancel at least the first half of its December schedule before Thanksgiving.”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts on the recent vitriol between the two sides, while Eric Duhatschek believes we’re at the half-way point toward an eventual “drop-dead” date to play NHL games this season.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins player rep Craig Adams doubts a “drop-dead” date from the league would change the dynamic of the dispute, adding the players have little trust in the owners.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: cited a report by RDS claiming the PA hopes to meet with the league to continue CBA talks next week.

NEW YORK POST: Mark Everson reports Daly indicating the negotiations may not be taking a two-week vacation. ““It wasn’t really a suggestion as much as an idea,” Daly wrote in an email to The Post. “I think the point is at this stage we don’t have any new proposals or ideas. Unless they [union negotiators] do, I’m not sure what we will be meeting about.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds to me talks could continue at some point within the next couple of weeks. Wouldn’t be surprised if formal talks resume after the American Thanksgiving long weekend.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo has obtained charts indicating the NHL and NHLPA aren’t as close on a core economic model as PA director Fehr recently claimed to be.  Of issue is the league’s view that the PA’s demand for a guaranteed player share for 2012-13 doesn’t take into account the revenue lost to the lockout. By the league’s model, if losses are 17.5 percent for this season, the PA’s share would be over 70 percent of HRR.  PA special counsel Steve Fehr acknowledged to Russo the difficulty of estimating the potential damage to revenue this season by the lockout,  claiming they’ve suggested to the owners to put that aside for the moment and work toward the overall structure of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How to fairly divvy up the remaining revenue for this season appears the main issue in the main stumbling block on the path toward a new NHL CBA. If they can resolve that, the rest should fall into place. The longer this lockout drags on, of course, the less revenue there will be for this season for both sides to fight over. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes the NHL risks losing sponsorship money if it takes a two week break in negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That risk increases the longer this lockout continues.

SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector reflects on what he considers the bad decisions made by Commissioner Bettman which had led to this point in the lockout, suggesting Bettman’s idea for a two-week break may be for the league ” to ponder a way out of a series of poor decisions that have compounded to the point where getting out from under their collective weight is proving a long and painful process.”

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance examines the diversity problem facing the NHLPA, where players already under long-term contracts are fighting for the “make whole” provision, while those who aren’t “may quietly have other priorities”.