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SBD/September 12, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NHL Players Speaking Out On Labor Situation As Threat Of Lockout Continues To Loom
Published September 12, 2012
ADDRESSING THE PLAYERS: USA TODAY's Kevin Allen reports NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and the union's negotiating team "will be explaining the situation" in N.Y. over the next two days to players "coming in from all parts of the globe." Jets D Ron Hainsey said that "as many as 300 NHL players could attend" the meetings. Owners also will be in N.Y. tomorrow for a BOG meeting "to hear Commissioner Gary Bettman's update." Negotiators from the two sides "are expected to meet this morning" ahead of the players' meeting. The large number of players in attendance "certainly speaks to gravity of the situation but also might be an indication of how the NHLPA has re-emerged as unified after the turmoil that resulted from first Ted Saskin and then Paul Kelly being removed as executive directors" (USA TODAY, 9/12). In N.Y., Mark Everson notes the "return to the table is another indication the players are the active side in this labor dispute." Though there was "grumbling on the ownership side that the union was rudely non-punctual toward busy captains of industry, there seems to be no excuse for ownership's failure to go through the motions" (N.Y. POST, 9/12).
BLAME GAME: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside wrote under the header, "Don't Blame Gary Bettman For Lockout." Burnside: "Let's be clear about one thing: Bettman may be driving the bus, but he's getting directions on where the bus is headed from the 30 owners who sit behind him on that bus." That is why this lockout "is all on the owners' shoulders even as many choose to heap the blame squarely at Bettman's feet." If the owners "didn't want their doors to be darkened for the second time in eight years, if they wanted to avoid looking hilariously hypocritical -- let's sign dozens of long-term deals this summer and then a few weeks later ask for players to give much of that back in escrow -- it wouldn't happen." The owners, "of course, speak publicly with one voice when it comes to labor issues and that voice belongs to Bettman" (ESPN.com, 9/11).