After a week full of rekindled optimism the NHL's CBA negotiations appear have reached yet another complete stop-down.
Reports surfaced late Friday night that the two sides stormed out after "heated exchanges" seemingly evaporated three days worth of hopes and raised outlooks. A Saturday lunch meeting supposedly helped the parties put aside their differences to pave way for a Sunday meeting that would get things back on the right track.
Instead there's news that the league is unwilling to give any ground on player contract issues, to say nothing of core economic discussions, which are also gridlocked.
A 60 minute discussion Sunday has yielded tweets in the hockey media like the following:
Fehr -- #nHL expects players to accept owners proposal 'to the comma'— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) November 11, 2012
#CBA According to Fehr, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during meeting that "we're past the point of give-and-take."— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) November 11, 2012
Bill Daly:"it was a candid discussion but their was no progress."— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) November 11, 2012
The owners are seeking to end "back diving deals", change arbitration eligibility and the rights of clubs to invoke it, and change entry-level deals and unrestricted free agency ages to reduce team costs on inflated "second deals", such as the one Jamie Benn is eligible for.
Where Don Fehr sees an immovable object, Bill Daly says they're working through these issues:
Bill Daly:"PA give us 17 issues on players contract last week. We have a deal, or made progress on 14 of them."— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) November 11, 2012
The he all but negated that statement, admitting that there's no room to move.
Daly - confirmed what Fehr said; no real room to move on player contract issues: 'we had a candid discussion' #nhl— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) November 11, 2012
So it's another game of chicken, with the number of games possible and the revenue attainable waning with each passing moment. The players and owners both are fighting over an ever-shrinking pie - Losses they'll never recuperate.
Fehr told media Sunday that he "suspects it won't be long" before the sides meet again, but does not have an exact date or time. The hall of fame induction ceremony is tomorrow night and Fehr and Bettman are expected to be in attendance. The NHLPA has requested to move negotiations back to Toronto.