The NHL lockout is approaching three months in duration and Wednesday the two sides were said to be getting together to continue negotiations that broke off amongst a flurry of emotion last week. The only problem was that the two sides were in New Jersey but never formally met in the same room despite six hours of meetings with the two mediators who were brought back into the fold at the request of the players.
Rather than meet together and try and hash out their differences, the two sides met separately with the mediators to try and find common ground in hopes of pushing towards a new CBA and salvaging the current NHL season.
But somewhere throughout the day it became evident that the meetings may have been a waste of time despite the owners putting the same offer they allegedly pulled last week back on the table on Wednesday.
Bill Daly emerged from the meetings during the afternoon to inform the media on hand that there was “nothing new to report” according to TSN.ca.
Donald Fehr later reiterated Daly’s comments stating he didn’t feel that progress was made. The players continued to meet into the night on Wednesday well after the owners and their posse had left the hotel. The expectation is that the players continued to meet with the mediators and would allegedly respond to the owner’s offer that was again back in play. The same offer that was proposed to the players last week before things went turned sour so quickly.
It’s hard to be optimistic with this turn of events due to the owner’s standing firm on their stance of “take it or leave it” and showing no willingness to move any further from their proposal.
The major road blocks between a new CBA or more days of an ice cold lockout are the discrepency over the length of this next CBA. The league wants a ten-year deal while proposing an opt-out clause after eight years for the players. The player’s have countered with an eight-year deal with an opt-out after six years.
The other big snag is over the length of years a team can sign a free-agent for. The league wants to limit it to five-year deals, seven if that player is already with the team he’s resigning with, while the players want options of longer contracts. The mind boggling stat is that only around 10% of current players have a contract longer than five years so it’s becoming clear that this new CBA will be created with the superstars in mind.
TSN is reporting that it’s doubtful talks will resume on Thursday as many of the players are frustrated with the owners unwillingness to move on their latest offer.
Buckle up as this one could take a while, something all hockey fans already know.