Talks Between NHL and Players Union Take Turn For The Worse

Talks Friday between the NHL and the NHLPA turned contentious and broke off with no new talks planned at this time.  NHL head Gary Bettman has accused NHLPA chief Don Fehr of not communicating the details of offers by the NHL to players union members.  Fehr denies this allegation.  He did send a memo to players, according to multiple reports, that cautioned them from getting too optimistic for a quick conclusion. A conference call with players was also scheduled for Friday night.  The two sides met for a fifth time over the last week covering three main issues; player pensions, critical dates for players, and core economic issues.  At the conclusion of today’s session Union Head Don Fehr declined to answer reporter’s questions saying only, “We’ve got some things to consider and we need to talk to our membership”.  Players present at the session were  Brad Richards, Jeff Halpern, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, George Parros and Kevin Westgarth.  Notably absent was Sidney Crosby who has been included since negotiations began.  Commissioner Bettman says the league is willing to meet again soon whenever the NHLPA negotiationg committee is ready to resume talks.  “Whatever it takes,” Bettman said.  “We’re available.” Joining Bettman at the meetings were Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold and Calgary Flames co-owner Murray Edwards.  Today’s events temper the enthusiasm that was building with fans hopeful a breakthrough in the Lockout was coming sooner rather than later.  With the first two months of the season already canceled, hopes of a full 82 games season and the Winter Classic dead, the momentum of this weeks 5-days of negotiations seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Today that light was snuffed out with accusations and barbs being traded between the two sides in a resumption of the PR war.  While some progress was made this week the gulf between the NHL and the players still seems wide and deep with no ice in the near future.  Gone Puck Wild will be keeping close tabs on any developments.  Follow us on twitter for the latest links and information.

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