NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently said that the league is done making proposals. It looks like the league might be done talking too, at least for a little while.
Commissioner Gary Bettman recently proposed a two-week moratorium on CBA talks, according to the Canadian Press.
“We are extremely disappointed in where we and the Players find ourselves,” Daly said. “And from our perspective, we have made repeated moves in the Players’ direction with absolutely no reciprocation. Unfortunately, we have determined we are involved with Union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement. Regardless of what we propose, or how we suggest to compromise the answer is “no.” At some point you just have to say “enough is enough.”
All the same, if the NHL wants to talk, the NHLPA is willing to do just that.
“Of course everyone on the players’ side wants to reach an agreement,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said, according to the Star Tribune. “The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars. What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t. So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?”
If the NHL goes through with this plan, then games through Dec. 15 will probably be canceled in a week.
We’ll also be two weeks closer to the season being lost entirely with no tangible progress having been made.
If you want the season to be saved and you’re inclined to try and find the ray of sunshine beyond this cloud, there are two theories you can grasp onto. You either can believe that the talks will resume within the next two weeks despite Bettman’s proposal to the contrary, or that the time off will allow one or both sides to refocus and eventually resume the negotiations with a new perspective that will finally lead to a breakthrough.
At this point though, the NHL and union have given fans plenty to be pessimistic about.