As we previously reported, the NHL and players’ union met on Friday, but talks ended without any indication of that progress had been made or timeline for the resumption of talks.
Now we’re starting to get an indication of what might have stalled the negotiations.
As Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, the NHL isn’t interested in entertaining offers unless they include an immediate reduction in players’ salaries. That can be achieved either through escrow or rollbacks. It sounds like that, as far as the owners are concerned, it must be part of the deal.
The players don’t want to do that and Russo issued the following argument in their defense, “Teams negotiated these contracts. Teams agreed to these contracts. The NHL registered these mutually-signed contracts. If teams signed players this past summer and the past few years to contracts they never had any intention of paying in full because they knew all along what they would be demanding in terms of paycuts in the next CBA negotiations, well, that’s completely disingenuous.”
That’s certainly a valid point of view. However, it’s worth adding that when these teams and players entered into these contracts, they did so with the knowledge that a new CBA would have to be reached and that everything would be on the table during the negotiating process. Given how the last CBA negotiations went down, the players had to be aware that these kinds of demands from the owners were at least a possibility.
Regardless, if the fans view the NHL’s reported demands as unfair, then that might put pressure on the owners and help the players. Based on a recent PHT poll, our readers are overwhelming siding with the players.
Either way, just because both sides appear to be drawing lines in the sand today, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be a compromise in the not too distant future. As TSN’s Darren Dreger recently suggested, the real negotiations might start at or around Sept. 10.