NHL gave owners/GMs specific guidelines to answer player inquiries

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Much to the NHLPA’s chagrin, the NHL granted owners and general managers a 48-hour window to speak to players last week after the league tabled its 50-50 offer to the union.

The window was clearly an attempt by the league to convince players that the offer was a good one. But until now, we didn’t know any specifics.

According to an ESPNNewYork.com source, the league sent a legal memo to owners and GMs outlining what could and couldn’t be discussed.

In the memo, the league strictly prohibits its general managers from negotiating with players, making coercive statements, undermining the NHLPA or soliciting feedback on “their sentiment about collective bargaining matters,” a source that received the document told ESPNNewYork.com.

It does allow, however, for general managers to answer certain inquiries from players.

According to the source, the memo includes a sample question-and-answer portion that gives executives suggestions on how to answer questions such as — “What do you think we should do?,” “What happens if the union doesn’t accept this proposal?” and “Why did the league take so long to make this offer?”

Sounds like a scene from Boiler Room.

Even if the 48-hour window was opened with the genuine goal of striking a deal, the move has the potential to backfire for the NHL.

NHLPA leaders clearly feel the league went behind the union’s back in this case, and that probably won’t alleviate the trust issues many players have with the owners.