Just when things appeared to be picking up steam towards a new CBA that would save a 48-game schedule, the dark side of the NHL negotiations has reared it’s ugly head (start the Darth Vader entrance theme now).
Optimism was pouring in from hockey fans across Twitter and even the main stream media were excited about the latest negotiations that were looking promising. Then Thursday arrived and things went to hell in a hand basket.
The NHL and NHLPA were scheduled to meet at 10 am sharp, according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.com. The problem is the player’s never showed up for the meeting that a federal mediator had orchestrated. Instead they were updating their membership, whatever that means.
While the two sides met internally throughout the afternoon, they never got together again to continue negotiations and now pessimism is the new popular word around New York and the NHL’s league office.
Burnside notes that the players are upset with the owners over a number of issues, including the wording around the penalties for hiding hockey generated revenue. The wording was later changed it back to how it originally was stated but the damage had already been done.
As if there wasn’t enough trust issues between the players and the owners that they had to go and mess around with something that had already been settled upon, only to further upset the union. Such tedious issues that are eating away time as the calendar continues to approach the January 11th deadline.
Burnside also mentions that the salary cap is another major sticking point in the negotiations along with pension funds and who should fund them.
The result? The players are once again voting on whether or not they should give Donald Fehr the power to dissolve the union, a card he never played late Wednesday night. Is he scared to make the move or were the two sides that close to a deal that he thought better than to upset the apple cart? Only to have the owners do the exact same thing on Thursday.
So now the player’s are fuming mad at the owners and are again rallying the troops to look at decertification. With meetings scheduled to take place on Friday morning, with a mediator present, it will be interesting to see if talks can get back on track. It can’t get much worse, other than a cancelled season.
Welcome to the dark side of the lockout hockey fans. Just when you think things are returning to normal, the black hole sucks the life out of everything positive.