NHL Lockout, Day 31: Talks Resume Today With Cancellation Of More Games Looming
The NHL and NHLPA are scheduled to meet today in Toronto "to try to resolve the stalemated negotiations and end the lockout," according to Kevin Allen of USA TODAY. If there is "no progress, the NHL likely will cancel more games this week" (USA TODAY, 10/16). NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr said that he "did not expect substantive discussions on the core economic issues," and he "dismissed speculation that the union would present a new offer radically different from previous ones." Fehr: "I don't know where that comes from. It's just somebody's guess." In N.Y., Jeff Klein noted NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has "frequently criticized the union for not making new offers." But Fehr said that the "charge was inaccurate." Fehr: "The notion that because somebody repeats something innumerable times, that then makes it true, I just never believed. We made a series of proposals designed to meet some of their objections, and they chose to treat them as 'Oh, this looks more similar to your last proposal than we would have liked, so I'm not going to treat it as a new proposal'" (NYTIMES.com, 10/15). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch notes the NHLPA "has been working on different ideas." It "isn't ready to table a proposal, but has bounced several scenarios off the reps to see what their position is." Senators D Chris Phillips said, "I have no idea (if the NHL will table a new proposal Tuesday). I will say that we're not waiting for them to come and sit there until they accept our deal." Garrioch writes if these talks "don't go anywhere, there's a chance there could be radio silence between the two sides for a while." The NHL is "frustrated with constantly meeting to discuss secondary issues and wants to get down to brass tacks." Sources said that the players "would like the NHL to throw them a bone or two before the union tables another offer" (OTTAWA SUN, 10/16).
SHOOTING OFF: Oilers C Shawn Horcoff said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has "forced the players' hand into this situation and frankly, he's (ticked) us off." Horcoff: "At the start, that first offer they gave out, that was a big, big mistake on Gary's part. ... I sit there and read Gary and Bill's comments about, 'We feel sorry for the fans.' Well, I find that really hard to believe. I think it's a blatant lie, personally. I don't feel they feel sorry for the fans at all. Gary feels like no matter what, (the fans are) going to come back and couldn't care less if they're frustrated with this" (ESPN.com, 10/15). ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun wrote the NHL "cannot afford two season-long lockouts." LeBrun: "I'm telling you now that there are fans who will never return if there's no NHL this year. ... My guess since the summer has been a late-November agreement and a December puck drop." LeBrun: "My solution started the players in Year 1 with a 53-47 advantage in the percentage of hockey-related revenue, followed by 52-48 in Year 2, 51-49 in Year 3; then by Year 4, the owners finally get their much-desired 50-50 split" (ESPN.com, 10/15). In New Jersey, Andrew Gross writes the NHL "shouldn't be so arrogant in its belief that it always will be the world's best hockey league." Gross: "Perhaps a better organized, more financially stable KHL eventually could draw even in attracting the world's top players while they're in their prime -- or at least a sizable portion of them." The KHL "certainly seems to grasp the opportunity it's been given in the NHL's absence" (Bergen RECORD, 10/16).
PAY DAY COMES AND GOES: In Philadelphia, Sam Carchidi writes with players having missed their first pay checks yesterday, they "may have a bit more urgency as their union goes back to the bargaining table." Carchidi: "Then again, the players are scheduled to receive escrow checks this month that will pay them 8.5 percent of their 2011-12 salaries” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/16). In Toronto, Kevin McGran notes the players collectively missed out on about $130 million, or 7% "of their pay” (TORONTO STAR, 10/16). Meanwhile, SI.com’s Stu Hackel noted the NHL Lockout Clock on Sportsnet.ca “keeps a running tally of dollars forfeited by the players as the lockout rolls on.” Whatever the intent is of Sportsnet and Rogers by "publicizing those lost salaries might be, it’s really only one side of the story because, after all, the owners aren’t making money without games, either.” Hackel offers a “ballpark figure of what the owners have lost at the gate for the first 22 games not played through Sunday.” It “comes to around $25.5 million.” Hackel: “It’s a lot of money, and we’re only 22 games into the season” (SI.com, 10/15).