Greetings Caniacs! Welcome to another update of the current ongoing negotiations between NHL owners and the NHLPA. Some people will say no news is good news but in this case with just 23 days left until the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires that is not so much the case. A scheduled meeting occurred on Wednesday morning between the Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL player representative Donald Fehr on how the two parties would procedurally move forward with negotiations. Both parties discussed what the best way to move forward with the discussions would be. At that time it was suggested that the parties would reconvene today to discuss core economic issues along with player contracting issues. With that being said, the next scheduled meetings will be at the NHL offices in New York all of next week.
These CBA meetings seem like there are a lot of “Let’s have a meeting about a meeting”. I understand this is a very complicated negotiation and that I am only touching on the basics of the collective bargaining agreement. Yet I feel like there is no real sense of urgency by the NHL to get this deal worked out. With bargaining there does have to be some flexibility, by both parties, but the only party I see willing to do that are the players. I think fans would feel a lot better if there was progress being made; at this point there has been none.
In Mid-August the NHLPA presented an in depth, lengthy alternative proposal to the owners which was quietly put on the back burner. Not that it was an end all be all proposal but it did show that the NHLPA was proactive and wanting to avoid a work stoppage in September. All that we have heard from the owners is a ridiculous proposal to the current revenue sharing agreement that is currently in place. At some point in the near future both parties are going to need to start agreeing on some of the major issues at hand. This will ensure significant progress if they are really serious about wanting to avoid another work stoppage in the NHL. It may be difficult to do since both parties cannot even agree on where to begin on restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement.
So the question many Caniacs want answered is “Is there going to be a lockout or what Commissioner Bettman?” You are going to be the fall guy in this whole collective bargaining agreement mess that is once again occurring under your watch. I can see the possibility of having a work stoppage but if we do not have an agreement by the 15th of September, all eyes are going to be on you Sir …for the third time.