The creative juices are flowing again between the NHL and NHLPA. A marathon meeting which stretched into the early hours of Sunday morning between Bill Daly and NHLPA’s Steve Fehr, was followed by some encouraging news.
“We met on and off for most of the day and covered a lot of ground,” Daly told The Canadian Press via email.
Daly and Fehr got together at a private location (possibly at a movie theater to watch Wreck-It Ralph) in an effort to shield themselves from the media and to start finding a way to get forward in negotiations. According to Daly, the meeting included “good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us.” . The meeting included just Steve Fehr and Bill Daly; both who are the Number 2 men for both associations. Irony fact of the day: Daly and former NHLPA deputy Ted Saskin laid the red carpet out for the deal that ended the 2004-05 lockout. Can S. Fehr and Daly do the same? This meeting that occurred between Daly and Fehr was definitely different as they sat for hours talking about the important issues for both sides. Usually Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr would meet for a casual drink at the local bar and talk about how annoying their wife’s are for a couple of hours. Ok maybe that was a stretch, and I can’t confirm or deny that either.
There was a positive feeling after the meeting that happened on Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, with Fehr agreeing in a statement of how Daly summed up the session between both sides.
Lately there haven’t been any signs of progress of either side since they last met in mid-October. In-fact it’s been negative as the worldwide news has been lately (bless anyone who has been affected by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy). If no one knows what the bad news is, we’ll get you up to speed. A deadline to save an 82 game season has passed, the NHL has also called off all games through November 30th AND an announcement came Friday to cancel the Winter Classic which was supposed to be at the Big House in Michigan between Toronto and Detroit, an original six matchup. Yup even in an NHL Lockout, the Leafs still manage to lose a game.
Last Tuesday, the NHL made it known that it is willing to see owners accept the “make-whole” aspect of its latest proposal. That provision was put in an Oct. 16 offer to make sure all current contracts would be honored – an important issue for the players. However, the NHLPA disliked that those payments would count against the overall players’ share in future revenues.
Both sides have moved closer together with their most recent offers though. The NHL proposed a 50-50 split of revenue, down from the current 57-43 revenue that favors the players across the board. The players are willing to see it get to 50-50 over time, but want it phased in so that current deals are honored by the NHL owners.
The NHL also proposed a number of changes to contract rules in which the NHLPA are basically saying “Pound Sand” to that proposal. The 50 day lockout has already seen 326 regular season games cancelled, and could see more cancelled if they don’t find a way to get a deal done.
So yes there is some positive that came out of this weekend, but still a lot of work to do if we want to see any NHL hockey at all this year
The sides are expected to return to the bargaining table on Tuesday in New York.