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What they’re saying about today’s labor developments

Oct 18, 2012, 10:30 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

Today’s news out of Toronto with the NHL dismissing the NHLPA’s three separate proposals almost instantly has got some of your favorite columnists typing mad at both sides.

Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Cotsonika unloaded both barrels on the players and owners

“By holding out, the players got the owners to make two straight proposals, to negotiate against themselves, to get about where we thought they were headed all along. Kudos. They created an opportunity.

They didn’t seize it. They blew it.”

Bruce Arthur of The National Post talks about how both sides can’t bridge the gap.

“The league has reached the point where it does not believe Fehr speaks for the players, and has hijacked the negotiations to suit his own ends. They believe they are dealing with the one person in this entire negotiation with nothing to lose, and since Fehr is the one guy in this mess who could walk away afterwards and never think about hockey again, they may even be right.”

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman says the NHL and NHLPA should follow the example of the Canadian auto workers.

“Now, someone’s going to say the North American auto industry is in worse shape than the NHL. Okay, but I would counter with this: we all know this league consists of haves and have-nots. The haves are in great shape. (Even Edmonton, Mr. Katz.)

The have-nots? There might not be enough places to move them all if this goes on much longer, and that’s not good for the players, either.”

Finally, Jesse Spector of The Sporting News says the NHL’s rapid dismissal of the players’ offer is a bad joke.

“If the NHL was serious about making a deal, or even serious about negotiating, Bettman and his crew would have left Toronto without fire and brimstone talk. They would have taken the three proposals back to NHL headquarters, spent more time running numbers to figure out how far apart they were, and then come back with a counter-proposal of their own, trying to bridge the gap further—perhaps backing away from some other demands in order to get closer to their desired deal.”

  1. bubblehead22 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Very disappointing. Both sides are to blame.

  2. stakex - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    I think Bruce Arthur hits the nail on the head here. What exactlly does Fehr have to lose if the season is lost, or if the hockey brand is destroyed by this mess? Absolutely nothing since he has little, if any, stake if this fight. Thats a scary thing, because it allows him to continue the fight (and convince the players to do the same) far beyond the point at which he should accept defeat. Hell, the fact that he has mentioned putting the cap itself on the table shows how not serious he has been about getting a deal done.

    As I have said several times, that doesn’t mean I fully support the owners… and I don’t like Bettman any more then most people. However they all have something to lose in this fight. The only person who doesn’t is Fehr… and thats a problem.

    • spiffy53 - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      while i agree to a certain point, in the end Fehr was not part of the other lockouts and they still happened. ultimately, the players (like any client of an attorney) need to make their own decisions when the proposals are presented. if you put yourself in Fehr’s place, would you actually recommend the 50/50 split AND allowing the owners to not honor the contracts that were already negotiated? i would think the 50/50 split along with the honoring of all previously negotiated contracts gets the season started. and it sets the owners up for better revenue streams in the future and allows their assets to apprecitate at a higher percentage (which is really what many of the owners are concerned about).

  3. theawesomersfranchise - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:07 PM

  4. x50cal - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    I’ll say it again, the NHL is a joke. The deal wasn’t as good as they made it out to be and if the NHL wanted to negotiate they would have but instead took ten minutes total on three separate proposals and said no, they aren’t trying to make a deal they are making sure moron fans back them in the PR.

    • stakex - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      I won’t say the NHL offer was perfect, or even good… but at least it was an offer. It was in fact the owners 3rd offer to the players, and is a huge change from their first offer.

      How many offers did the players make until today? Only one, and the owners made it clear for a couple weeks that they were not going to accept the players opening position, had made their counter offer, and were waiting on the players to make the next move. Yet no deal came, and the only reason there was any movement was the owners made yet another new proposal.

      So its clear some morons are jumping all over the owners and running to support the players side… when its been the owners showing more willingness to get a deal done and move from their starting position. Thats not spin, or PR BS… its a fact.

      • rogersjd16 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        And yet in every owners offer, the players are making every single concession. Still. Fehr and the players are just lessening those. And Bettman and his dregs are unwilling to do so. Let’s not crown Bettman and the owners as these knights trying to get a deal done. I 100% agree that the players needed to be a bit more proactive, but we’re clearly seeing that even when the NHL thinks it’s putting something useful on the table, it’s not.

        Both sides are still to blame.

  5. muckthefets23 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    The NHL made their concessions on the terms, now with the ball (or puck) in the players hands they simply just dropped it and walked away. No better was the response from the owners, which was pretty much “F it, your counter offer sucks and we’re outta here”. It’s like a group of 10 year olds negotiating, but then again at least 10 year olds would take their “ball” home and think about what just happened. The appear do be doing the exact opposite, all the while not realizing they’re destroying the game that is making the money they are squabbling over. What a joke…

  6. muckthefets23 - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    I probably should have revised that post before submitting it…

  7. sunderlanding - Oct 18, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    You know what really sucks about this. Everyone gets screwed by thier employer. Especially us working class stiffs, and we don’t make millions as compensation. The players do. Our saving grace is being able to come home from a long day and watch the game. The players are stopping that from happening. Just take the millions you’ll still get and except the fact that the owners will make more, and let us fans watch the game we love.

    • eyeh8goodell - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      The majority of pro athletes are NOT making millions.

      • sunderlanding - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        If they play more than a year or two they do. And the guys who are making $750,000 aren’t the ones stopping the deal from getting done. It’s the Parises and Webbers who want to make sure they get all their $100,000,000. God forbid they only get $90,000,000.

  8. greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    For those of you who don’t think the NHL needs a salary cap, look no further than baseball’s World Series. The Cards are 1 win away from playing the Tigers. Both teams are over 100 million, and only 9 teams spent 100 million. The Yankees and Giants who are the runner up in the League Championship Series were both over 100 million.

  9. bcisleman - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    All of the writers make valid arguments. I am most in agreement with Spector. The NHL did not adequately consider the NHLPA offer and probably should have consulted the owners as well. Friedman’s point about the danger to small market teams is well taken as well.

  10. micasa81 - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    The part of me that just wants to see hockey is really pissed that the players didn’t counter with something close to the owners’ last proposal. But the part of me that is evaluating what is fair in this situation still thinks back to the very first offer the owners put forward: a 25% paycut and a raft of other major concessions that would amount to substantially further financial losses for the players. Back then, everyone saw that the owners were starting at an absurdly low point in order to make it look like they were making huge concessions when they (inevitably) made more serious offers. Now, it seems most people have forgotten that. I admit, it was a very effective strategy. Do people not remember that, before that proposal came out, there was still serious talk that the PA would be trying to get more money to gain back some of the ground they lost in the last CBA? Admittedly, that probably wouldn’t be realistic or fair, but what if the PA’s initial offer had been something like a 5% raise? Would that have been as outrageous as the owners’ initial offer? Everyone’s saying that the players haven’t substantially moved from their original offer. First of all, they have. Their latest offers represent larger paycuts than they initially proposed. Second, given where the owners started, why should the players have to move as much as the owners have?

    Keep in mind, I’m not talking about what I, as a fan, would like to see happen, or what would be wise for the players to do at this point. I think on both those counts, the players should have made a better counter offer. But if we’re trying to figure out who to be more mad at, for me it’s a no-brainer: owners.

  11. micasa81 - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Also, since everyone is telling the players to shut up, take the pay cut and be glad they don’t have to be working stiffs like the rest of us, I really thought there were more capitalists among us fans. I’m sure the players are glad they’re so talented, but why should they have to be grateful to the owners? Are the owners running a charity? Nope, they gave the players those multi-million dollar contracts because they believed it would make their business money. It’s on the players to play well enough to get offered the big bucks, and it’s on the owners to offer contracts that won’t bankrupt their business.

    I don’t have a ton of sympathy for the players’ position, but don’t blame them for taking a hard line in trying to keep their millions. Blame the free market.

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