NHLPA Preps Players For CBA Talks; Sources Say Negotiations Will Begin Friday In N.Y.
The NHL and NHLPA are "scheduled to kick off formal talks on a new collective bargaining agreement in New York on Friday," according to sources cited by Chris Johnston of the CP. The union has gathered 53 players "together for three days of comprehensive meetings before talks open." They were "split into three breakout groups on Tuesday afternoon and combed over a number of topics expected to be raised during CBA discussions -- everything from desired changes to the current financial system to player safety and on-ice issues." Blues C David Backes said, "The league's doing really well. There's been increased revenues -- record revenues -- every year. It's on a track that seems like almost exponential growth, to halt that would be a shame on both sides. We're looking for something that's fair, we're not looking to clean house." The NHLPA is "expected to unveil a negotiating team of more than 30 players when the executive board meetings wrap up" today. Having a group "that large at the table is one of many changes" NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr has made since taking over the union in December '10. His presence and approach "has been a breath of fresh air for long-time members." Blackhawks D Steve Montador said, "It's like we've been taught again what the definition of collective bargaining is and why there are unions and why people collectively bargain. It's been a great reset" (CP, 6/26). In Chicago, Chris Kuc notes during the NHLPA Exec Board meetings in Chicago yesterday, the union "mapped out its strategy to the players in attendance for upcoming labor negotiations with the league regarding a new collective bargaining agreement." Capitals RW Troy Brouwer said, "The guys are headed in the right direction with their views and how we want to carry forward." Blackhawks RW Jamal Mayers said, "We made a lot of huge concessions last time and certainly there are going to be issues that arise. The league for the last seven years has seen revenues grow. I'm sure they'll have their angle on things. My hope is that we can get a deal done" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/27).