Briere: “We’ve all heard that Gary thinks the fans don’t matter”

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What were once fairly cordial CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA are starting to get…less cordial.

Earlier this week, Minnesota forward Zach Parise took a sneering shot at league commissioner Gary Bettman.

“We’re ready to play. We want to play,” said Parise. “But Gary’s pretty adamant about his third lockout of his tenure.”

Yesterday, Flyers forward Danny Briere took his own shot at the commish: “We’ve all heard that Gary thinks the fans don’t matter. They’re gonna be back whenever we need them. I think that says it all right there from their end.”

Briere was presumably referencing Bettman’s comment that the NHL recovered from its last lockout because it had the “world’s greatest fans.”

Now enter this report from CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, who quotes “a source with knowledge of the negotiations” that’s none too impressed with the owners’ latest proposal.

“[The NHL] took a really [expletive] proposal and made it a little less [expletive],” said the source. “But that still makes it pretty [expletive].”

If we had to guess, we’d say the source is an agent, not a player. But even if it’s just an agent – or whoever, really – it’s clear the dispute is starting to heat up as the clock starts ticking louder.

Despite it all, Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey is trying to stay positive.

“We’re still talking every day. There’s been movement — whether it’s been significant or meaningful or hopeful, I’d rather not attach a word to it,” Hainsey told the Winnipeg Free Press. “But we’re still talking, we’re still scheduled to talk every day for the rest of this week and then after the holiday weekend the rest of next week and tentatively right through [to the Sept. 15 expiration of the CBA when the owners are expected to lock out the players].”

Related: NHL, NHLPA not expected to meet today