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Why did Bettman suggest a two-week moratorium on talks?

Nov 16, 2012, 10:54 AM EDT

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr Getty Images

The NHL wanted to show the NHLPA that the league was beholden to no specific date to end the lockout. And that, despite the fact time is running out to save the season, is why commissioner Gary Bettman suggested a two-week moratorium on CBA negotiations.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Cotsonika, the NHL got word that union leader Donald Fehr told the players on a conference call that the league wanted to start the season by Dec. 1. (Whether Fehr actually said that wasn’t confirmed.)

Obviously, if the players knew the NHL had its own deadline, they’d have little incentive to make concessions. In fact, the belief among players seems to be that the league will blink soon.

So the NHL decided to send the players a message: the season will start when the right deal is in place. Dec. 1 means nothing.

  1. mmchugh619 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    At this point, both sides are killing the fan base they have left, and the sport in general. I want to support the players in this, but enough already. This is the stupidest work stoppage in the history of Labor. All because two sides can’t decide how to split up a pot of money, that yeah by the way, gets filled by the fans you’re screwing over right now.

  2. chronwall - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Send Fehr to his room and put bettman in the corner !

  3. bcsteele - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I wish the fans could give both sides a Dec. 1st deadline…get it done or we don’t come back! Try splitting up that pie when there is no pie to split. This has gotten to the point of beyond stupid.

    • dsmaxsucks - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      Done.

      Actually, my deadline is passed. I am now actively rooting for the season to be cancelled. Taking the red hot poke out my fan ass will not redeem this season. I need to see Bettman cry, I need to see him acknowledge he doesn’t care about the fans, or even the sport. I want him to admit that this is just some sort of corporate tactic to further profits and we are just the stupid saps who pay so much money that the owners have determined the money is more important than the game.

      I’m not going back until Bettman leaves, and I would much rather view his failure than some screwed up hockey season. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      As for Fehr; guys like him come and go. There’s always a Fehr. And at least he represents the people who care about hockey.

      • sharksfanatic - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        Fehr represents the people that care about hockey? Really?

      • comeonnowguys - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        In no world does Fehr care about the future of hockey. He’s just there to “win.”

  4. 13datsyuk13 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I would like to add a third party to the negotiations, the fan base. We are the real “boss”, we pay all the bills and salaries. The fans should have a representative sitting at the negotiating table overseeing these shenanigans. Sadly our voices are not heard but I bet it would be different if one of us got into these meetings.

    • mountainmantride - Nov 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Great idea. The fans should have a say. And if we’re not going to a seat at the table then don’t buy a seat in the rink. Money talks.

  5. davebabychreturns - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Most of the fans will be back. Come on you guys. It’s beyond frustrating watching these two sides try to stare each other down, but at the end of the day fans need to remember who and what they are… fanatics.

    We are most of us pathetic junkies for the game and we’ll (almost) all be back eventually. Sure the league and the players will take a bath in the short term but fairweather fans are eminently replaceable and even in places like Vancouver where the diehards have been priced right out of the rink it’s clear that the franchise can survive without them.

    Will the damage done by this lockout push several teams from the black into the red, and perhaps a couple of floundering franchises into bankruptcy or right out of their current locations? Sure, probably. But it will be a short term loss and by no means will it be the end of the NHL as we know it.

    Hell, things will probably be fine and dandy by the time the league is ready to lock the players out again.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      man i really want to disagree with you but you’re right. when has a lockout had a lengthy impact on a sport? never.

      • kyzslew77 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        It really hurt baseball after the 1994 playoffs got canceled–then baseball got very lucky and got bailed out by the Sosa/McGwire (steroid fueled) home run chase in 1998, which brought a ton of interest back. Without those two guys, baseball would have been financially hurt for much longer.

      • davebabychreturns - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        Yeah I fully expect the NHL to revisit the rules and attempt to infuse more goal scoring (and whatever else they deem to be “excitement”) into the games once they come back, especially if they lose a full season.

        They’ll stack the deck in their favour when it comes to marketing the game, and frankly as long as things don’t completely collapse they’ll have ample time to build before they need to sign another television deal.

    • noisetheorem - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      Ill be back to watch the games on TV or listen on the radio. I will not be going to games or buying NHL merchandise. They want my money? F*ck em!

    • mountainmantride - Nov 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      Sheep.

      • davebabychreturns - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        Say what you will. Most people are. Then again, some simply don’t want to watch second rate hockey (or ditch the sport entirely).

        Completely abadoning the NHL when you have followed it your whole life over a couple of work stoppages is about as stupid.. well it’s about as stupid as the players and owners losing an entire season because they are angry at each other.

  6. bjbeliever - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I’m not sure why the players see themselves as irreplaceable. You’re telling me the kids coming up now wouldn’t player for what the NHL is offering? Union work is so ass backwards….If I told my boss I wouldn’t work for what he’s offering he’d shake my hand and say best of luck elsewhere, then hire someone else the next day. I want to see hockey, offer the jobs to who ever is willing to take them, if you think you’re not being paid enough find somewhere else willing to pay you more. They will come back

    • thomaspratt - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Out of curiosity, where will these players come from? Current members of the NHLPA wouldn’t do it, and that would include most of the best players currently in the AHL. I’m not certain how the IIHF would handle it, but would any European player who might hope one day to be drafted for fear of being blackballed. So aren’t we looking at the bottom few players in the AHL and Europe, and undrafted free agents? Would you pay NHL prices to watch those players play? You could probably watch games just as good for far less by watching current AHL, NCAA or CHL games.

      • therealjr - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Maybe all the international players who got the short end of the stick when locked out NHLers went overseas?

        The guys going overseas and playing during the lockout and taking the jobs of others for their temporary benefit, they’re as bad as any scab.

    • woodstakes - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      bjbeliever, why do you guys keep trying to make this comparable to normal joes work environment. Your right your boss would tell you to get lost. But, i’m guessing your not in the top 1% of your profession.. IF you were, your boss would say “Well, what is it that you want and I’ll tell you what I can afford…” sort of line. It happens in every industry of the world. Take your pick, the top 1% of any profession gets things the rest of us do not have the opportunity to get/negotiate on. The bottom line is these owners/league have a responsibility to their sponsors. They must put the best of the best on the ice. IF the best of the best are not on the ice here, they will be somewhere else and that’s where they(the sponsors) will follow. Fans will do the same thing. I for one would not pay NHL prices to watch mid/low level talent from the AHL play on NHL ice. I don’t go to games for the stadium experience, I go to watch the best of the best face off. That’s why i’m willing to pay NHL prices. I too, watch NCAA hockey, but I also don’t pay NHL prices for those games. Is it great hockey, YES! Would I pay NHL prices to watch it.. NO WAY! As thomaspratt has posted above, what do you expect you would get when the top 4 lines of every team in the NHL leave and the top 2 lines of most all AHL teams as well, since most of them have 2 way contracts in the current system? Because, here’s the deal, if you put less of a product on the ice, where are the owners going to get the money to pay for their leases, corporate costs etc etc etc when their teams have 1k to 2k people watching in their stadiums and all the big boy sponsors leave?? Will they pay for it by using their profits from other business ventures?? NO WAY! If that were the case they’d be doing it already.

    • kyzslew77 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Getting pretty tired of seeing comments on PHT from people who think anyone would pay to see replacement players. This is not a union of assembly line workers who can be replaced. There is not another Stamkos, there is not another Quick, etc. etc. You can find college-level talented players to fill the NHL uniforms, but it won’t be the NHL as we know it. No one will pay for broadcasting rights, no one will pay anything close to current ticket prices, no one will buy any merchandise. I know it’s fun for some people to say THESE PLAYERS ARE SO GREEDY, and maybe the people who say that are right, but you can’t pretend like the players have no leverage. The players have a lot of leverage, which is why the league hasn’t busted the union or hired replacements yet.

  7. deeznutz3d - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Screw the NHL its time to start a new hockey league, these guys dont care about the integrity of the game and the sport we all love.

  8. barkar942 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    By the time these morons settle all of this, even DiPietro’s contract will be expired!
    Both sides suck!
    I’ll just watch the two fish in my fish tank for more excitement than I now get from the sport of hockey!
    Both sides are blowing all of this!
    The fans are getting the shaft!
    Screw the NHL and it’s players!

  9. bleed4philly - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    There will be hockey… Next year.

  10. brojodyv - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I am an avid NHL fan, but I must be honest, I am losing my respect or both the players and the league at this point. If I had a minor league (or even a college) team nearby, I’d just about forget the NHL. It continues to be a SAD day for hockey.

  11. ewoods6 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Gary Bettman can go to hell. Daly can morph back into a 10 year old and hang out with Coach Sandusky. With all my heart can’t stand greedy people who are greddy just for the sake of being greedy.

    Players making concessions for a struggling sport, revenue wise, during 04-05 was understandable. Asking for the same players to take even more cuts after record setting revenue is as bush league as it gets. Even with the expected decrease in revenue, the players would lose close to a billion $ after 5 years with the 50/50 split…..it’s over!! I HATE YOU BETTMAN

  12. paledevil - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    The fear and loathing you feel is just the next step on the rollercoaster we call the CBA…(Fear and loathing= f it i am done.) After this intense feeling of “i give a shoot” it will become funny. You will actively taunt any nhl talk or apparal.(the unfollow blitz and haha at jerseys biz).. After the being a jerk hahas wear off you will slip into the disbelief its not done part and into the get it done part..
    Heres the thing, those last 2 we have already experienced its going backwards akin to a ring of fire.. We are trapped…..
    A swift painless closure is all we can hope for … One way or the other….

  13. bhawksrule - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    I think it’s actually a good idea. Let’s see what Fehr is made of now.
    Ball is in Fehr’s court. I can guarantee you there are players breathing down Fehr’s neck to make a deal.

    • woodstakes - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      …. and you think the owners aren’t doing the same to Bettman?? You can already see it coming… owners stepping up and saying little things. Nothing that will get them the $1 Million fine, however its getting there. I’m betting there is an awful lot of “Umm, Gary? You said we’d be playing by Nov/Dec and here we are staring January in the face!” Sure, there is a few a owners who feel like they are losing less money than the others, but there are 4-10 owners who make REALLY good money under the current CBA and will in the next who are getting antsier and antsier about it as well.

    • woodstakes - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      also (accidentally hit post) how is it exactly that the ‘ball is in Fehr’s court’?? The players have already said they will reduce down to 50/50 split. So the players have given up 7% of revenue. What exactly is it that the owners give up?? No move on contract issues… no move on arbitration rights.. ALL the owners have done is Demand this and Demand that, the PLAYERS are the only ones who have lost anything so far. Where exactly is the players win so far?? By losing 7% of revenue instead of the that ridiculous 17% cut the owners “offered” in the 1st offer sheet?? I would NOT call that a win since they are losing revenue. Whether 50/50 split is fair or not (I believe it is), it still the players giving up something while the owners stand there and ask for more and more and more.

      • bhawksrule - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Fehr has never made an actual offer once yet…. He’s just sat back and let the NHL negotiate with themselves . They are done with it now. Time to step up Fehr.

      • bhawksrule - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Fehr has been a complete jack ass since day one. Using stall tactics, leaving talks and coming back claiming he forgot something, making owners and players wait for 6 hours because he didn’t show up when he said he would, making no real offers or counter offers in good faith, etc etc…

        Even former players are calling his tactics bush league. If anyone has been disrespecting the process and dragging it on, it’s been Fehr.

        Now is NHL has put the spotlight back on him to make an actual offer or else there is no season.

      • woodstakes - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        What do you mean? The players haven’t tendered an offer sheet yet?? They have offered multiple offers on multiple times. The 1st offer by owners… 3 offers from players.. 2nd offer from owners.. 2 offers from players… 3rd offer from owners (make whole) 3 offers from players.. WTH are you talking about they haven’t offered anything yet. Not in ONE of the offers by the players have they asked the owners to make a concession.. did they say. “We want you to increase our revenue by 17%!” or “We want UFA to start in year 4!” “We want increase variances in long term contracts!” “We want no limit on contract lengths!”… the players have not ASKED for anything that will improve their stance as it stands under the last CBA. The players every single offer sheet has been a decrease in what they currently had. So where is it that the owners have said “Ok we’ll give up…” anything?? No, they said “We’ll agree to take less away from you here…” that is not a concession and it is not the same thing as the players giving up 7% of revenue. Bottom line is the owners haven’t given up one single thing they had in the last CBA into the current CBA.

      • woodstakes - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        Yup your right.. you are. But Bettman has been a total class act and has a wonderful reputation. You counter a D-Bag with a D-Bag. Bettmans just pissed that the players found someone with same size ego to counter his ego. It it good for hockey? It’s not for the fans, but it is for the players.

  14. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Ah! The things we say when we are frustrated. We are like a child who got his candy taken away. No matter how you spin this conflict, it will not deteriorate the on ice product. Hence, most of us will be there when the league will resume. Sad, but true.

  15. lonespeed - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    This might be a nieve view, but if they really want to blow up the league, then why not just terminate all the contracts and start over. If the owners really want to create a new baseline for the league, they can set whatever cap ceiling / cap floor they want and then figure out how they are going to obtain players in a fair manor. They want to shave 30% off the cap, then fine, do it.

    Sure, it would completely piss off all the players but no matter what, the league would still be the highest paying league in the world. Some players will come back and even if they don’t, then over time they will because they’ll see that a bunch of scrubs are making more money than they are playing in the European / Russian leagues. If a previous second-line player realizes he could dominate the league if he crossed over, then he’ll submit his name to whatever draft, free-agent, tryout process the NHL decides to go with.

    I just don’t understand why the owners don’t say ‘screw you guys, we’re not giving out 10m anymore and you’ll just have to live with it, and if you don’t we’ll find someone to play for 3-5m. You guys go right ahead and play in SM-liiga or Slovak Extraliga or KHL, or whatever league you want to play for less than 1m. Out of sight, out of mind. The fans will learn new faces and young talent will replace all of you within 2-3 years. The hockey is about the crest on the jersey, not the name Ovechkin or Crosby on the jersey’.

    • bhawksrule - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      Because no one wants to watch second and third tier hockey talent at the top level. Professional sports don’t quite compare to the “Average Joe” job…… There aren’t replacements for lower pay that will keep your product on the ice thriving and generating income.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      Something tells me the owners like their money and don’t want to be found guilty in an Anti-Trust case where the damages are automatically tripled, “terminating all contracts” would pretty much ensure that.

  16. capsrockva - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    I just want the dam season to start for our sake. The fans are the most important people and both sides are screwing us over. I’m going to watch the college hockey game tonight, but I would rather be watching the NHL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! damit get the ddam season start!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. sportsfan69 - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Mike Russo,

    PLEASE PUT OUT THE FACTS ON THE CBA.

    Once the facts are out, the fan revolved on the players.

  18. sportsfan69 - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Mike Russo,

    Please print the facts. as a fan, we, the fans need to know the truth. By the way Mike Russo is news reporter just reporting the facts. He was on the power play with Boomer.

  19. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Just saying…
    id4joey
    Nov 15, 2012, 6:22 PM EST
    Alright NHLPA, your move. How much longer will it take before you crawl back to the negotiation table? Take the hit. What are your options? You play hockey for a living, and though many of you are very marginal players you are paid in excess of 2m per year. Not bad. Right? It’s NHL or what?

  20. steelers88 - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    NHL season=Over

    • id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      The players will be crawling back very very soon, and will give give and give back to the owners. It Is the law of the jungle, and the lions/owners will prevail. The players lost all their leverage on Sept 15. These guys make peanuts during the playoffs, and therefore would have gone on strike immediately when the season would have ended. So, stop with the notion that the players were ready to play on the old CBA. The leverage has always been on the owners side.

  21. 8man - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    “I must break you.”

  22. cspsrbums - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    NHL is finished start a new league

  23. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    NHL is finished? Don’t be stupid.

    • mountainmantride - Nov 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      That’s what the horse and buggy industry said when Ford started building cars.

      • id4joey - Nov 18, 2012 at 2:28 AM

        I get it now. So, the NHL dies to be replaced by what?

  24. cspsrbums - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Id4 shut the f… up u talk like you know something you know nothing you are annoying to everyone on here

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