Rangers fans, lacking guidance, wander aimlessly around New York. - Allison Joyce
8 Total Updates since December 5, 2012
6 months ago Article 5 comments
Lanny Chayefsky's searing exposé of the National Hockey League shows the ruthlessness of collective bargaining through the prism of commissioner Gary Bettman's shocking and unexpected descent into madness. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Bill Daly) and Best Set Design (podium or lectern).
6 months ago Article 6 comments
Three days of negotiation, posturing and theater sent participants and observers alike over the ledge Thursday night.
6 months ago Update 254 comments
And here comes the swing of the pendulum in this week's NHL CBA negotiations:
NHLPA Donald Fehr is back in the negotiating picture, saying the sides are "close," which irked commissioner Gary Bettman enough to leave a voicemail rejecting their proposal as Fehr spoke to media. Bettman either thinks Fehr is up to age-old negotiating tricks again or is simply engaging in gamesmanship himself.
The NHL feels, with revenues for this season slipping and faith from sponsors dwindling, that their "concessions" (off their original positions) this week are plenty. The NHLPA probably feels for the first time in this process they actually have a partner willing to give something, so they'd like to take the opportunity to get a little more.
And we're left with this:
#CBA Bettman accuses Fehr of using spin to make it appear 2 sides are closer than [where league feels] they are. "Incomprehensible".— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) December 7, 2012
And Bettman/Daly are frustrated Fehr said sides are close. PA's request for mediators earlier 2day seems to indicate Fehr knew they're not.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) December 7, 2012
So mommy and daddy are acting like children again, under the guise of being tough-and-tested negotiators, while the season gets evermore absurdly short.
...which sounds all horrible and ominous, but all observers would be foolish to think this week would suddenly pave the way to a swift consummation of a deal. Even as the owners issue histrionic statements tonight -- they're supposedly pulling their offers off the table now -- and the NHLPA requests a return to federal mediation, this
joke process will resume soon.
Funny how, had it continued two months ago, we'd be well into a nice sponsor-pleasing season right now, eh?
6 months ago Update 21 comments
As noon came and went, the NHL and NHLPA hadn't even started to meet yet. Apparently the two sides can't agree on the forum for today's meeting. The NHLPA wants anyone who wants to partake allowed in, while the NHL would rather the same small group meeting as they did the past couple days.
The mood at the meetings (credit every hockey writer alive for this info) is, as Bob McKenzie put it, bizarre. Some participants feel like the sides are close enough that they can't imagine a deal not happening. Others believe that this is the day talks will fall apart.
Earlier in the morning, the media was told that they would not be able to stay on the premises. The NHL and NHLPA didn't want the media to be leaking negative reports surrounding the negotiations, but two hours later the media all still seem to be around and reporting at will.
Things are getting tense, nobody knows where these meetings are going, and it seems like this will play out as a manic day of negotiations. Most are in agreement though that this is the day where we'll see some kind of resolution to the lockout, whether positive or negative.
6 months ago Update 0 comments
The meetings between the players and owners end just before 1 am Eastern time. Ron Hainsey did the speaking for the NHLPA and wowed the crowd of reporters with:
"We had a series of meetings today, very candid discussion, and we plan on meeting again tomorrow."
Bill Daly was next up for the NHL and was a little less vague. He stated that there was good, candid dialogue, but there are critical open issues between the parties.
With that, Day 2 of the meetings ended without much information on where the two sides are at or how close they may be to an agreement.
6 months ago Update 0 comments
Twitter has gone crazy, as the setup, take-down, and re-setup of an NHL
podium lectern led to hours of podium riffs while reporters and fans alike awaited for negotiating news. People even debated whether the league should play on Christmas Day, as if it was a foregone conclusion that it would try.
Which makes sense since December is really damn late in the game.
UPDATE 1 a.m.: Things finally wrapped up for the night just shy of 1 a.m. EST -- and without a fit or public whining from either side:
Ron Hainsey: "We had a series of candid discussions tonight; we will meet again tomorrow #CBA"— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) December 6, 2012
6 months ago Update 0 comments
This is what the afternoon has been like for reporters stuck covering the NHL implosion:
6 months ago Update 9 comments
After "marathon" meetings Tuesday, the Fehr- and Bettman-less NHL owners and players groups agreed to meet Wednesday morning to continue negotiations.
Scratch that. They decided to push new meetings back until the afternoon, after the NHL Board of Governors meetings had concluded.
Not surprisingly, owner-friendly former Columbus GM Doug MacLean -- who is like the Mike Milbury of Blue Jackets franchise history -- took that delay to mean the players had screwed up or something:
MacLean vented on Sportsnet's Hockey Central, as transcribed at Cult of Hockey:
"When you finish at 12:30 last night, and we’ve been locked out for 80 days, can you not stay up for another hour and half and work on a proposal and pass it in at 9 (a.m.) like you said you were going to do. Is that that complicated?"
This courageous desire to make key decisions on three hours of sleep may explain much of MacLean's tenure in Columbus.
(Seriously, especially for you college kids nearing finals and end-of-semester pressure and decisions, like whether to extend your girlfriend through the holiday break: Don't make big decisions on little sleep. Just don't do it. Financial, emotional, professional -- whatever it is, there's a reason "sleep on it" is a phrase in many languages.)
Anyway, there are all kinds of rumors floating around about imminent progress and the commissioner "wanting a deal by Friday" (which is both comical and tragic in one fell stomach punch, given the months of posturing that made October and November disappear). There were also solid reports from solid reporters stuck with the merciless task of squeezing thoughts from pissed off sources.
You can read these upticks in rumors as signs of progress, or as signs of the normal flow of a lockout (yes, lockouts are now "normal") as it approaches the time where clearly the league must stop posturing if it has sincere interest in holding a 2012-13 season. Alright, fine, you can also read them both ways simultaneously.
At any rate, meetings shall resume, and may well get uncomfortable:
#CBA Unclear whether a formal proposal is forthcoming but talks expected to be more specific than Tues, which was more conceptual in nature— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) December 5, 2012
Bettman shall Respect The Process, and spare us the posturing. Today at least:
Bettman: pleased with process that is ongoing, out of respect for that, will not take questions— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 5, 2012
And in a truly interesting note, the BOG wasn't even given specifics on the status of talks, lest they squash them because that's what owners do:
Negotiations between NHL-NHLPA are at such sensitive stage NHL govs weren't even given specifics from yesterday's session at today's BofG.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 5, 2012
Meanwhile, if you want to get truly ahead of yourself and fill your January-April plans with many four-games-per-week weeks, there was this:
Talk of 50/56 game sked "if" a deal— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) December 5, 2012
What a sham, if they can't even play a 60-game season.
But whatever. We figure our readers have lockout fatigue, which is why we've let up considerably on lockout coverage the last month or so. (Not that there's been much of anything to relay.) Alas, now we're approaching the ritual climax, so expect a few more updates in this stream and in the coming weeks -- though we don't intend to ruin our holidays chasing lockout standoff reports.
The season will probably happen some time, in some bastardized form. If you're interested in the hourly turns of how they get there, stay tuned. Otherwise, Bridgeport plays tonight.