SBD/November 15, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Lockout, Day 61: Communication Between Sides Halts With No Signs Of Restarting Soon

With the NHL lockout "about to enter its third month, communications between the fighting sides have come to a halt with no clear sign of what the next step will be or when it will be taken," according to Ira Podell of the AP. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly yesterday in an e-mail said, "No, we have not communicated today. No meetings scheduled, and no plans to meet" (AP, 11/14). In Philadelphia, Frank Seravalli notes for the fourth straight day, the NHL and NHLPA "had no meeting planned." The entire process "seems backwards at this point." Players would have "received their third paycheck of the season" today (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15).

HOLDING OUT: Free agent RW Mike Knuble said that NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and Special Counsel Steve Fehr "aren't going to be bullied into crafting a new proposal." Knuble: "I'm sure Don and Steve will have their internal meetings and figure out which direction they want to go, but they're not bowing to any sort of pressure from Bill or [NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman]. They're not going to make a move that will hurt us just for the sake of making one." Knuble said that he "believes the NHL has a date circled on its negotiating calendar ... and when it arrives another offer will be presented." Knuble: "I think sometime in December. I just think that when the NHL wants to be serious about talking we'll get a deal done. But I don't think they're at that point yet" (CSNWASHINGTON.com, 11/14). Hockey HOFer Wayne Gretzky said, "My gut still tells me that over the next six weeks (they) will get a deal done. ... I still see hockey being played come January for a 40- or 50-game schedule" (QMI AGENCY, 11/14). In Ft. Lauderdale, Harvey Fialkov noted Panthers D Mike Weaver, Cs Stephen Weiss and Peter Mueller along with free agent Marco Sturm yesterday signed autographs at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital while "sporting their NHLPA sweatshirts with their twitter hashmark #theplayers." Weiss said of the season, "I think they'd like to have more games than (48 in 1995), at least in the 50s. I'll take anything right now, 20, 30, whatever we can get" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 11/14).

CRITICISM OF RECCHI: Former NHLer Mark Recchi on Monday said that the players should "take the owners' offer now because it isn't going to get any better." But Senators D and NHLPA board member Chris Phillips "all but rolled his eyes." Phillips said, "I guess I would say it's an uninformed answer, unless he's now tied in with ownership somewhere, or wants to get involved with ownership, and trying to take that side. ... I don't know what those comments are based on, because he's not involved" (OTTAWA SUN, 11/15).

BLAME GAME: Former NHLer and Sabres TV analyst Rob Ray said, "I still think it's going to happen at the beginning of January with a 40-to-50 game season." He added, "I could sit and say Bettman is a jerk but he's done a decent job growing the game ... You have to give him credit for that. But, when it comes to this stuff, it becomes all about him. In that way, he is making a bit of a fool of himself." Ray: "I think he's a bit of [a] gambler thinking that everybody is going to come back. I just think he's risking too much" (OTTAWA SUN, 11/15). The CBC's Don Cherry said, "I think they're both at fault." He added, "The players, I don't know who they're fighting for. Are they fighting for the past, are they fighting for the future or are they fighting now? Because I know one thing, if I'm around 31 or 32, I'm getting a little nervous" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/15). Former NHLer Derek Sanderson said, "I think hockey will survive despite it all, but it could be a long time coming back if they do not have hockey this year." He added, "For most people, they're not actively looking for hockey until football is over. Once (the NFL season) is over, people are going to be asking, 'Where's the Bruins?' If you don't get it by Christmas and you don't let kids watch the games, then you're going to hurt the game." Sanderson: "(Gary) Bettman is a basketball guy and Donald Fehr is a baseball guy, isn't he? Why are they talking about hockey?" (CSNNE.com, 11/14). In Buffalo, John Vogl asked, "Who will win the negotiation?" The owners "will likely make fewer concessions, but because of the NHL's tarnished brand, the answer continues to be: no one." Penguins C Sidney Crosby said, "If it keeps going like this everybody's going to lose, there's no way around it" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 11/14).

FREE ADVICE: ESPN N.Y.'s Katie Strang noted Minnesota-based U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan "may have led mediation between" the NFL and NFLPA during their lockout last year, but he "finds the current NHL work stoppage hitting closer to home." Boylan, a Wild season-ticket holder, "just received his refund" for this weekend's cancelled game against the Red Wings. Boylan said that he feels "mediation is always a wise choice when two sides hit this sort of impasse -- the earlier, the better." He said, "I'd volunteer to do it for free. I'd love to get this thing done." Boylan added, "I'd love to take a crack at it, because it's truly the game I love. And from a selfish standpoint, you'd really like to see them back on the ice" (ESPNNY.com, 11/14).

CANADA THE HARDEST HIT: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts notes charities across Canada "are feeling the bite" of the NHL lockout as well. Metro Toronto Rotary Auction Board Chair Darryl Patterson said that the lockout "will cause a drop of at least $10,000 from the $96,000 raised at last year's event by five Toronto area Rotary Clubs" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/15). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Will Connors writes a front page piece under the header, "Canada's Goal: A Pro Hockey Settlement Before NHL Slams GDP." The subhead reads, "National Hockey League Lockout Puts Beer Sales, TV Ratings On Thin Ice."  Connors notes how business in Canada is impacted by the lockout, as the CBC is "feeling the pain." CBC VP/English Television Kristine Stewart said that the net's flagship "Hockey Night In Canada" has "shrunk to as small as an eighth of its normal two million-strong audience for the Saturday night slot" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/15).
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