Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
After five hours of talks in two sessions Wednesday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has received indication that the NHL Players’ Association is putting together a proposal, and the NHL is urging the union to make it.
Daly said a “variety of sources” both privately and publicly tipped off the league that the union was working toward putting forth a new offer. The two sides have not swapped proposals in more than three weeks.
“We understand you’re working on a proposal. Make it to us,” Daly said of the league’s message to the union during Wednesday’s negotiations. “Let’s not stand on formalities. If you a have a proposal, make it.”
The league has been imploring the union to submit something new for weeks and hopes the possibility might jumpstart a negotiation process that has become stagnant.
The union also is encouraging the league to make moves of its own, multiple sources told ESPNNewYork.com. Even if the league’s next proposal doesn’t include significant movement on economic issues, it is believed the union would like to see some concessions made in other areas, such as the contracting issues.
Despite a small, private session between Daly, commissioner Gary Bettman and the union’s top two — Donald and Steve Fehr — prior to Wednesday afternoon’s larger group session, Daly said little progress was made.
“Overall, today, we didn’t really move the ball forward that much,” he said.
Zetterberg will be back when the lockout ends, but he’s not sure if some others playing in Europe will return this season.
“I know for a fact Russians will probably stay,” Zetterberg said. “I can’t blame them either. The Russian league treats players a different way. For them to play in their home country and not have these (labor) disputes every other year … and they honor the contracts over there. If you sign a deal, that’s the deal you get.”
Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is playing for CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League. His agent, Gary Greenstin, said Datsyuk will return to Detroit once the lockout ends.
With no apparent progress being made in sporadic talks between the NHL and NHL Players Association, no settlement appears in sight.
“There’s always a chance for that (cancellation of the season),” Zetterberg said. “It’s not our decision whether to play games. We were willing to play under the old CBA while they figured out the new one, but the league didn’t want to do that.
“If they don’t want to have us here playing, we just got to look for some other places to play.”
In what seems to be a dire sign for the Winter Classic, the NHL Operations Department does not have plans to visit Ann Arbor this month.
Officials from league headquarters went to Michigan Stadium in September to do logistics scouting, part of the massive preparation to hold the scheduled outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1. But with the NHL already having canceled two weeks of the regular season — and with no progress made on tangible issues between the NHL and the NHL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement — no follow-up trips are on the horizon, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press today.
Were the 2012-13 schedule under way as normal — were the Winter Classic not at risk — operations people would have had a great opportunity to see Ann Arbor at its busiest this month. This Saturday is homecoming, and Michigan State visits the Big House on Oct. 20.
The possible demise of the 2013 Winter Classic also is bad news for Detroit, which was to host the Winter Festival at Comerica Park for two weeks, starting in mid-December. Part of the agreement by Wings owner Mike Ilitch to have the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor was that the NHL (which puts on the event) was to build a hockey rink at Comerica. The festival was to have included games at every level of hockey, from high school to Ontario Hockey League to the Great Lakes Invitational, culminating with a doubleheader of NHL alumni games Dec. 31.
Donald Fehr expressed some hope that collective bargaining talks this week will help lead to some resolution.
But he also made it clear in an hour-long meeting with the Toronto Star’s editorial board that the longer the NHL lockoutlasts, the less happy the players will be playing under a salary cap.
“If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don’t know what they (the players) are going to do. But I think it’s safe to say, they would be exploring all options,” said Fehr.
He added the players can live with a salary cap if an agreement can be reached quickly.
“Where the players are, they want to make a deal,” Fehr said. “Even though the owners’ proposal went as far away from the players as they could, the players did not respond in kind. They made a proposal which moved in the owners’ direction. If there can be an agreement in a relatively short term which puts the pieces back together and gets the season going, I think the players can live with that.”
Fehr fell short of calling for the salary cap to be scrapped outright — something that would put the NHL and the players further apart. But it was a reminder to commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners — on the eve of new talks with the league on non-core economic issues — that things can get ugly in a hurry.
“I hope we can continue to make some progress on what we call the non-core economic issues and I hope we can have discussions that can spark a new round of significant talks on the core economic issues,” said Fehr. “Whether that will happen, I can’t predict. But I hope it does.”
The NHLand the players’ association met for a third straight day Sunday, and again avoided the troublesome money issues that are behind the ongoing lockout.
“We did not discuss core economic issues, as was the plan,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr said after meeting for five hours with the NHL. “We discussed health and safety, drug testing, including more discussion of drug testing, medical care, etc. Also a number of things in the CBA legal area of player movements.”
The drug policy was a key component of talks Friday when the sides got together for the first time since the NHL imposed the lockout on Sept. 16.
On Saturday, the sides focused on clarifications of definitions of what makes up hockey-related revenue — a pot that exceeded $3 billion.
“It was a productive day. We made some progress in some areas,” Fehr said Sunday. “I would say it’s good that we were talking. It’s true that we could’ve done this last week or a week before or a week before that, but it’s a lot better than doing it three weeks from now.”
Because of difficulty in finding common ground on how to split up that money, the league and union instead concentrated all weekend on secondary issues that will also be included in any new agreement.
“I hate to sound like a broken record, but we need some movement on the economic issues. We need some movement on the system issues,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “We need them to be scheduled as the subject of a meeting, and right now the union is not prepared to do that.”