Gary Bettman:"we believe that we are paying the players more that we should be."— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) August 23, 2012
In what was apparently the first and last formal negotiating session of the week between the NHL and the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, Bill Daly and Gary Bettman had a disussion that lasted just 90 minutes before speaking (vaguely) with the media and departing once more.
Seems that there hasn't been much progress made.
Last week the NHLPA made their first counter-proposal to the deal the league offered in July. Gary Bettman called it incomplete, as they PA did not address player contract issues. The players, via Fehr, addressed those issues today and Bettman responded saying that they can't talk about them until they "tackle the core economic issues."
Round and round it goes. Don Fehr reminded the media that if there's a stoppage, it will be the owners choice, not theirs. Bettman said that owners are focused on making a deal, but the PA "wants to keep things the way they are and that's slowing the process." Fehr said "we want more flexibility and the league doesn't want that." Bettman said "we believe we are paying players more than we should be." Fehr countered with "there isn't an employer that wouldn't want to pay less."
Posturing and posturing.
The league holds the leverage, and the players are left to wait and wonder - Wonder, if they were to give a serious, meaningful concession to get things kick started, would the league reply in kind or simply use it to press their advantage even further? That the players will give up significantly more than the owners once again is starting to feel like an inevitability. The question is how much, and how long will it take for the rest of us to find out?
The NHLPA is holding a regional meeting in Toronto today and tomorrow. As many as 70 players are expected to be in attendance. Brenden Morrow, Loui Eriksson, Ray Whitney and Derek Roy, meanwhile, are working out at the team facility in Frisco, according to Mark Stepneski.
Meanwhile the Calgary Flames have put close to 175 full and part-time employees on notice that they could be in line for salary cuts as soon as September 16th, the day after the CBA deadline, and many feel other teams will soon follow suit.
When next the two sides meet 18 days will be all that remain.