Progress or Pessimism After NHL Rejects NHLPA Offer?

When the NHLPA offered a new 5-year CBA proposal to the league and it’s owners on Wednesday, the entire hockey world held it’s collective breath.  Hope that progress would be made towards a new deal lingered in the air while everyone waited to hear the league’s reaction.  And then it struck like a knife to the guts; the league rejected the offer in what was termed “a disappointing day” from Donald Fehr.

Fehr admitted that the players had conceded a tremendous amount and according to TSN.ca, they had even begun to negotiate off of the owners “make whole” provision, something the league has been adamant about.  Yet the owners refuse to move in key areas such as the players share in revenue, arbitration and free agency eligibility and the pension plan.

Gary Bettman admits that the players have made concessions, but there still remains a great deal of distance between both sides when it comes to an overall deal, courtesy of TSN.ca.

“There was movement on some issues by the players’ association and that was appreciated,” said Bettman. “But we’re still far apart. Hopefully there will have been some momentum from today’s session that we can build off of to hopefully bring this process to a successful conclusion.”

In Bettman’s quote lies the piece of optimism.  The fact that he acknowledges there will be some momentum from the negotiations that took place is promising, even if it is on a tiny scale.

Fehr admitted that the players are getting anxious to get a new deal in place so they can return to game action. He did however also comment that this offer was about as good as the player’s good stand to make, bringing up the question “is this another negotiating tool by the league and the player’s or will this be the last of the talks for a while?”

With the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday the two sides have agree to touch base again on Friday but no further meetings have been scheduled to this point.

It was also reported on TSN that with every passing day of the lockout the league is losing $18-$20 million per day while the players as a group are losing $8-$10 million. This in itself would be enough to make both sides wanting to get a deal in place as soon as possible, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least with the owners.

Some feel progress was made while others view Wednesday’s events as discouraging.  Maybe the league will come back with a counter-offer that the players will be willing to discuss and make some headway with.  The rate it’s going, we are about to lose another two weeks off of the season bringing back the shadows of doubt that we’ll see any hockey this year.

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