Typically in labor negotiations we often hear words such as solidarity in a way to demonstrate the strength of a particular group or union. We’ve certainly heard this throughout the NHL work stoppage as the players and owners continue to battle through one of the more embarrassing events in the history of professional sports.
In reality, when you’re dealing with over 700 players it’s understandable if players have varying opinions on how things are being handled. Hell on the owners side you only have 30 Governors and it safe to assume not everyone’s on the same page there either.
It’s just the reality and sooner than later players will begin to speak out. I’m sure some owners would as well if they didn’t face stiff penalties set forth by the NHL.
As I reported on twitter yesterday, several players have made preparations to fly to New York on Wednesday with hopes of engaging in another round of talks with the NHL. Obviously the NHLPA hosted the last round of talks and it’s now the league’s turn to have home ice advantage. Whether or not the players make the trek to NY remains to be seen. They would probably want PA executives to accompany them to meet with NHL leaders.
As we explained via twitter, the owners have given a Thursday deadline to negotiate a deal and still play a full 82 game schedule. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told me Monday the league has no current plans of canceling the entire season anytime soon.
The bottom line is some players would like to urge the Players Association to quickly present a proposal that will engage the league and get back to the negotiating table. There is a sense of restlessness growing among certain guys and the same can probably be said among some owners. This has led to some players reaching out to Donald Fehr on their own searching for answers.
Some of this can be attributed to missing a paycheck although getting an escrow check in the mail recently lessened the blow.
What’s the fallout of having the lockout continue? Considering it’s upsetting fans and hurting relationships with sponsorship etc…won’t the two sides be fighting over a smaller pie next year if they lose the entire season?
In the limited time both sides have been in the same room, most will agree neither party is in any hurry to change their approach in these negotiations. I don’t see the deal changing very much down the road and therefore it becomes about limiting the damage that’s already been done. There are some players who believe the deal will only get worse for the union the longer this goes.
Does anyone truly believe its’ going to get better?
The problem that exists is that there’s almost no trust between the two sides. At least from the player’s point of view, they have a hard time trusting Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners and I’m not sure that will ever change.
Union Executive Donald Fehr is not going to wake up one day and decide today is the day he’s going to get a deal done. Until the players tell him to get a deal done, there won’t be NHL hockey. It would also help if the owners would be willing to negotiate, but the truth is Donald Fehr will not get a deal done until the player’s tell him to do so.
Are we approaching that time?
The NHLPA will hold a 5:00 pm conference call today to discuss where things are at. It’s also an opportunity to speak up if you have something to say.
How nice would it be if the players and owners were able to meet without Bettman or Fehr in the room? I’m sure Fehr would actually be ok with this, Bettman on the other hand? Probably not.
I heard some NHL owners didn’t even want players in the room during last week’s talks in Toronto. I would think it would be hard to look Sidney Crosby or Jarome Iginla square in the face as well.
Is anyone really interested or following what’s going on overseas? Outside of reporting on a signing I’m hardly following what’s going on in any German, Swiss, Czech, or English league. People hardly follow NHL hockey let alone what’s going on thousands of miles away. I’m done with updates on how NHL players are playing across the pond. Prospects are one thing, but power rankings of European teams involving NHL players do little for me personally.
At the end of the day Blues D-man Alex Pietrangelo will make more money than he'll know what to do with playing in the NHL. I give this guy credit for keeping quiet while still staying informed to what's going on. He's not one of these young player's popping off on twitter re-tweeting every negative thing written about NHL owners or Gary Bettman. Sometimes it's best if you're a young player to just stay out of the road. The Blues have a strong veteran presence on their roster with guys like jamie langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, and Andy McDonald. Petro seems to have this figured out by staying in the background.
Covering the NHL has certainly become a pretty stressful gig. I remember a former boss of mine at KMOX radio asking why I want to cover the NHL when nobody cares about the sport? I always defended the game and the important role the Blues play in the community. He still always tried to steer me into investigative news because I had a knack for gathering information. But hockey was the game I grew up playing and I felt like this is what I was supposed to be doing. To this day I’ve never regretted taking the path I’ve chosen to go down but if this is what we have to look forward to every six or seven years then I might start second guessing myself. Covering the NHL isn’t a job I was asked to cover, it’s a job I wanted to cover and for the most part it’s been an enjoyable experience.
Going to the rink every day is what I’ve been doing my entire life which is why I feel like I haven’t worked a single day since I started covering the NHL back in 1999.
If far more popular sports such as the NFL and MLB can find ways to co-exist then why is it so difficult for a league that doesn’t draw near the same amount of attention?
Does it really need to be this hard? On one hand you have several players who don’t even understand what’s going on while on the other hand you have a number of owners who in reality have no say in this entire process. Yet 100% of the fans, who at least give this league some substance, are shutout. I could understand if this was a once in a blue-moon occurrence but this happens nearly as often as the Olympics.
I’m done pointing the finger at one side or the other as those days are coming to an end (Don’t quote me on this). Those media members, agents, or players who spend 20 hours a day killing the opposition on twitter might want to find a different hobby. For one reason or another this process has become more and more shady by the day.
The more both sides speak the less it makes sense and the more people are being turned away. Here in St. Louis, the majority of fans and media are Blues fans, not NHL fans. Most could care less if there’s an NHL or not. The last thing we need is for the few fans we do have to start to not care as well.
It's time we wake up here.
I'm sure it's important to the NHL to get this resolved before January 1st and in time for Detroit and Toronto to play in the annual Winter Classic. With that said league sources indicate it won't lead to a deal just to save the event. Word is the actual Winter Classic isn't as significant the NHL's bottom line as some might think. It's significant in terms of exposure but in terms of the botom line, not so much.
48 Hour Window?
Most have probably heard the news of a recent 48 hour window that granted NHL GM's the right to speak to players over the course of this two day period. Was this some kind of a joke? Obviously there were strict rules in place for GM's to follow. It appears Blues players did not engage in any discussions with GM Doug Armstrong.
David Perron joins me Wednesday at 6:00 live at Johnny Mac’s on Watson Road. The show begins at 6:00 and can be heard on am 590 the Fan.
More to come,
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