As the lockout approaches the two month time frame, the NHLPA has finally come out and confirmed what the three main issues are that is preventing both sides from agreeing on a new CBA. According to Steve Fehr, the special counsel to the NHLPA, the three biggest issues that are the reasons for the ongoing lockout are the split of money, player contract rules and who pays for the damage caused by the lockout (courtesy of TSN.ca).
Fehr, who spoke at the Prime Time Sports Management Conference firmly believes that once the two sides can agree on those three issues then a deal will be in place rather quickly and the regular season would soon follow. Sounds fairly easy, all they have to do is agree on those three items and the NHL will be off to the races. But if were that easy, why is the lockout in day 58 with little progress to report? Perhaps this is Fehr’s way of staying positive throughout the last week that nearly brought negotiations to a halt on Friday when the two sides seemed to be frustrated with each other that talks nearly ended.
Or maybe it’s his way of passing on that the talks have some traction and that maybe a deal is days away from being announced. Fehr did make mention that both he and Bill Daly agreed that a new deal would come together promptly once the aforementioned issues were sorted out.
“One thing Bill Daly and I agree on,” he said at the conference. “When the moment is right, a deal will be done very quickly.”
One potential solution would be to go the avenue of a third party mediator, something that Fehr says the players would be willing to do, but the owners are reluctant to the idea. This could be another media ploy to make the other side look bad and try and sway the public’s opinion to the player’s side, further trying to slander the owner’s reputation.
Should the lockout head down that path then a deal would almost be guaranteed to be put in place with the mediator choosing which proposal is best suited for the new CBA. It is a high risk move for both parties given they could end up being forced to conceded in areas they had not planned on conceding to, hence the concern of moving to a mediator.
December 1 has been the date of late that has been thrown around as the next potential start up date for a shortened regular season and as everyday passes and the beginning of the month approaches, the less likely we’ll be seeing NHL hockey come that time. According to TSN, in order to start at that proposed date a new CBA would need to be in place by early next week, leaving roughly just over one week to negotiate and agree on the big three rocks that stand in the way of playing or not playing. Get er’ done boys, we’ve waited long enough.
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