After two days of lengthy but productive meetings between six NHL owners and eighteen players that included two proposals, the top dogs are set to re-enter the meetings. Yes, both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr will sit in on the negotiations Thursday afternoon in New York when the two sides will meet to discuss the more sensitive issues surrounding the CBA according to TSN.ca‘s source close to the situation.
Oddly enough this was the request of the players when they asked that they be allowed to have anyone they choose as part of the negotiations. Hence the move to have both Bettman and Fehr back involved with the direct, on the line discussions.
The only concern with this is quite simple. To both Gary and Donald, don’t screw this up!
When it was simply the players and owners, along with a few other dignitaries ie: Bill Daly, progress was made and everyone involved was feeling energized about where the talks were going. Not saying a deal is on the verge of getting signed but when both Bettman and Fehr were involved, repeated attempts to try and make headway around ending the work stoppage resulted in angry and frustrated emotions.
After two days of much deliberation and from what we hear, give and take from both sides, the last thing anyone needs is to have these two egos join the talks and throw cold water on the fire that has finally caught wind and is burning strong.
It’s become clear over the past 81 days that both Bettman and Fehr are strong headed and not willing to budge on their proposed stance of what the new CBA should look like. Afterall, it took a handful of owners and players to meet without them to make any sort of progress.
Being cautiously optimistic is probably the best way to describe everyone’s feelings around the hockey world so let’s hope that these two leaders don’t destroy any type of momentum that’s been built over the past two days. Granted there are some extremely sensitive issues to be discussed and hopefully ironed out today, of which all revolve around money so it’s hard to gauge where the talks are headed from here. The positive is that they are trying to figure this out, even after talks reportedly got heated last night.
Here’s to hoping both Bettman and Fehr allow this to move forward and that a deal will be finalized relatively soon.
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