NEWS: NHL / NHLPA Talks Cooling

After meeting almost every day last week there was much optimism among the fans and media that a deal might be fast approaching. But things have taken a turn for the worse since Thursday night when D. Fehr’s letter to the players became public.  In the letter he states:

In short, the concessions on future salary we have offered (at least $948 Million to $1.25 Billion over five years, depending on HRR growth) are not enough. We are still being told that more salaries must be conceded, and that very valuable player contracting rights must be surrendered. So, while we are meeting again, and while some steps are being taken, there is still a lot of work to be done and bridges to be crossed before an agreement can be made.

On Friday the NHL accused Fehr of failing to tell the whole truth about the NHL’s latest offers(s).  TSN dramatically proclaimed that:

Any goodwill built during an extended run of collective bargaining talks between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association quickly evaporated Friday.

No meetings between the sides took place Saturday and on Sunday talks broke off after 90 minutes spent discussing only “player contract issues”.  Perhaps even worse is the lack of plans to get back to the table:

No new plans to talk were made, but Monday wasn’t ruled out. The sides will be in touch, and if they do decide to meet then, those talks will take place in Toronto where leaders from the NHL and the players’ association will be to attend Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

The NHLPA portrayed the downturn in optimist on the NHL’s unwillingness to negotiate the player contract issues.  According to an ESPN article:

“The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals,” Fehr said. “That unless players are prepared to take — and this is my phrase, not theirs — down to the comma, that there’s nothing to do.

“We’re past the point of give and take. That’s what I was told Gary (Bettman) said when I was out of the meeting.”

Asked if an unwillingness to budge on its demands presented a non-starter to the union, Fehr said, “I don’t know how you make an agreement if that’s their position.”