Call it a start, although for many it feels like the umpteenth time we’ve said that. But at least the NHL and NHLPA are trying once again to sit down across from each other and while the urge to flip tables and throw shoes at each other will be strong, the game of hockey depends on how these meetings progress. At least they’re meeting right?
The two sides have tentatively agreed to meet on Wednesday at a location that has yet to be announced according to John Shannon of Sportnet.ca via Twitter.
The meeting comes five days after talks that appeared to be making progress were suddenly halted by the dreaded voice mail from Bill Daly informing the player’s association that the league had rejected their latest offer and subsequently pulled the league’s offer from the table.
Daly and Steve Fehr did speak over the phone on the weekend which was a positive in keeping the lines of communication open, but as every day passes without a new CBA it’s one day close to the possibility of losing the entire season.
The league cancelled all scheduled games through December 30 yesterday bringing the total 526 games that have been lost. That equates to roughly 43% of the regular season and it’s uncertain as to whether the league would pick up the schedule on Dec. 31 or create a new shortened version if a new deal were to be reached in the coming weeks.
The Sportsent.ca article does make mention of the fact that with the latest cancellations, the player’s will now lose another two paychecks, bringing the total to six missed pay periods. That in itself has to be a reason to settle this matter and it appeared the players were ready to take the last offer from the league to a vote. That was before the league delivered a potentially fatal blow on a voice message and sent this whole lockout into a deeper tail spin, further alienating the game and it’s fans.
It’s been said by many of the players that they are holding out hope, that too much progress was made last week to not get a deal done. Let’s hope they’re right.
Or maybe this was Bettman’s plan to sweeten the pot for the owners, knowing that a deal is in the works but he’s sticking to the art of negotiations to force the player’s into conceding more.
I wonder if Gary knows why he gets booed every time he presents the Stanley Cup?