And so it begins. Hacking away at the regular season. The NHL announced it was eliminating the first two weeks of the regular season.
They already dismantled the pre-season because both the NHL and NHLPA cannot come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. That has caused a loss of over $100 million, according to NHL deputy commissioner, Bill Daly.
Daly issued a statement in which he claims that
“We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement. The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better. We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our fans. This is not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the League and the game. We are committed to getting this done.”
Are they really committed?
There were several days of negotiating between both parties earlier this week, talks that went nowhere and really did not address key financial issues that are at the heart of this dispute.
Naturally, no further meetings are scheduled at this time.
On Tuesday after the most recent meetings stalled, NHLPA director Donald Fehr was right when he commented “from our standpoint you ought to be continually talking, even if you are disagreeing and not making progress, because you never know when somebody is going to say something that’s going to spark an idea that will allow you to make progress. If you’re not doing well on subject A and subjects B, C, D and E need to be talked about, sooner or later we ought to be talking about those things. Even if you don’t reach resolution on those things, hopefully we push them along.”
As long as both sides are not talking, nothing is going to be accomplished any time soon.
“They understand what our position is,” said Daly. “To this point we certainly understand what their position is. We just wish it was different.”
Apparently Daly believes that all the compromise needs to be on the players side and not on the NHL side. How is that compromise?
Compromise is a settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions. Not one side. Each side.
Owners cannot complain too much about salaries and the need to reduce them when they are the ones handing them out in the first place. Players have to be reasonable, too, and concede that things need to be more equitable in revenues on both sides.
If both sides really enter into negotiations with the best interest of the game of hockey in mind, this should be a done deal.
There is no good and justifiable reason why hockey should not be played right now. I should be covering training camp and roster pare downs and game recaps. Lots of folks should be working in hockey buildings. Instead you have stubbornness, stupidity, and senselessness.
The more likely scenario is more of the same, and not two sides being reasonable and willing to move on issues so there is a new CBA. I expect more cancellations within the next week.