Progress Halted….Again….in NHL Discussions

Do not be an NHL fan if you don’t like roller coasters, yo-yos, being manic depressive or just yanked around in general.  Talks are going well. Up!  Talks have halted again.  Down.   Progress and proposals.  Up!  Rejections and “still far apart.”  Down.  

Better take your dramamine if you are going to follow this one any further.    Helps with the motion sickness AND the nausea that is certain to accompany this nonsense.

It seemed like things were going so well.  After a suggestion by Gary Bettman that players and owners meet directly without Bettman or Donald Fehr involved, progress was being made, finally, in coming to terms with a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA.

The owners and players who met on Tuesday and Wednesday appeared to make positive progress.  Then the NHLPA put a new proposal on the table.  Cue the sound of screeching brakes and everything coming to a crashing halt.

It is amazing how fast it can go from “we’re close” to “it looks like this is not going to be resolved in the immediate future.”

The owners felt they got a “lukewarm” response from the players after offering to increase the “make-whole” payment to players by $100 million.   The NHL also wants a 10-year agreement, with a mutual option after eight years, and a five year cap on player contracts.

“Term limits on player contracts is the hill we will die on,” said deputy NHL commissioner, Bill Daly. 

Daniel Winnik, who was signed by the Ducks as a free agent this past summer, was one of the players in on the second day of talks. 

“They asked us to address their three main issues,” said Winnik, who has been part of the NHLPA’s negotiating committee from the beginning. “And that’s what we thought we were doing today. We didn’t know (that) by us not completely agreeing to what they want … that’s it.”

If you believe what Bettman and Daly are saying, then that’s it.

Bettman told media that most elements of the owners’ offer were now off the table.

The NHLPA had countered Thursday with an eight-year agreement and contracts to last no longer than eight years. But the NHL had wanted a deal struck Wednesday night.  Right now, it is the NHL way or the highway.

“It looks like this is not going to be resolved in the immediate future,” Fehr said.

No kidding, Donald.  Tell us something we do not already know. 

Next up – more game cancellations and it will only be a matter of time before the whole season is put aside.  Daly, Bettman and the NHL are choosing to die on a hill without realizing what the actual body count or consequences are going to be.

About Karen Francis

Just a diehard Ducks fan since 1995, when the team filled the hockey shaped vacuum in my heart.