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Bettman appreciative of NHLPA proposal, hopes it creates momentum

Nov 21, 2012, 4:27 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

Today in New York, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman admitted the league and players are “still far apart” in CBA negotiations; however, he did express appreciation at receiving a comprehensive proposal from the NHLPA.

“We’re still far apart,” said Bettman. “But hopefully there’s some momentum so we can bring this to a conclusion.”

The commissioner struck a somewhat more optimistic tone than NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, who said earlier there was “no reciprocity in any meaningful sense” from the NHL in response to the union’s proposal.

In a related story, Bettman expressed his frustration at what he deemed the NHLPA’s “gamesmanship.”

Also noteworthy: an “angry” Flyers fan confronted Bettman during the press conference.

Image via Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:


Following the media scrum, Bettman reportedly had a conversation with the man and “thanked him for being a fan.”

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    They’re going to be far apart until the PA totally gives in and accepts whatever the best NHL proposal is. The NHL has now made it clear that this process is not a negotiation. It’s a waiting game they are going to continue to play, which is a helluva lot less fun to watch than a hockey game.

    • capesouth - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      That sounds right bc of how this thing is going but the NHL has to negotiate. To think they are in a position powerful enough to simply say ‘take it or leave it’ is false. They aren’t.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        @capesouth: seemingly the owners would beg to differ.

    • chrisvegas - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Haha.. So true! The NHLPA better get on their knees and accept whatever the owners give them. The arrogance of the NHL Owners is beyond words.

    • bjbeliever - Nov 21, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      Or stop giving proposals that guarantee a certain dollar figure to players, NHL has been clear about wanting a deal that is a fixed percent incase revenue goes up or down – why Fehr is acting surprised they didn’t like seeing another deal that guarantees it won’t go down is beyond me and very discouraging…I just want hockey back.

  2. staaltostaal - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    That fan should’ve gone for his throat

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    P.S. Good for that fan. That’s me if these talks move back to Toronto.

  4. habsman - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    That guy in the picture, chrisvegas?

    • valoisvipers - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      @habsman Yeah it is and he is also one of miss mud’s fathers.

    • chrisvegas - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      I wish.

  5. thedavesiknowiknow - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear what people think Bettman’s role in all of this is. So far, it’s been nothing short of amusing.

    • supercoop8 - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      Listening to drunk people talk about Bettman is also a good time

  6. blackhawkslove - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I’m not for aggression, but I love the passion that the fans are having. I feel like if more fans get angry and protest the league and take things into their own hands, we will have resolution quicker. The league is here to serve the FANS. We fill the bleachers, pay for tickets, support the teams, give them the revenue to have a hockey team. They should thank us and provide the absolute best for us.

    Peaceful boycotting is the best way to get their attention.

  7. thedavesiknowiknow - Nov 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    “Angry Flyers fan” is a redundancy.

    • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM


  8. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Yep! The PA will have to give in on three issues; 1) $100 million gap between PA and ownership with respect to players share 2) free agency to be pushed out by a year 3) CBA length cannot be less than 6 years.

    • chrisvegas - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      Well we know the owners aren’t giving in on ANYTHING.

  9. capsfan19 - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Ha angry flyer fan!! “Ay buddy letz go to geno’s and whip some assss aftah the game!”

    • shotzongoal - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Yo I love this man but let’s go to Pat’s!

    • jimw81 - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      they actually have hockey in Washington dc?

  10. capsrockva - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I can’t believe the nerve of Bettman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just get the dam deal done soon please, for the fans sake if you f****ing care about us. The people who pay your salaries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. shotzongoal - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Most of Bettman’s comments are as expected. But once again Fehr put in his twists. On one hand he wants a 50 / 50 split. But wait, if HRR goes down in year 2 Fehr want the previous years dollar amount. So if HRR is 3 billion this year, both get 1.5 billion, If next year HRR drops to say 2 Billion (because of the lockout or lets say the Canadian dollar devalues or the economy sours further) the Union still get the previous years 1.5 Billion and The NHL get 0.5 billion. Anybody wanna sign this agreement? Oh and the union doesn’t agree on any of the NHL contract issues.

  12. id4joey - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    On a positive note, the ASG, and games in Dec haven’t been cancelled yet. Will the ownership cancel either one to put pressure on the PA? Certainly canceling games in Dec will have a crushing effect on the union, and perhaps the final blow to break them. C’mon players. Think! Stop shooting yourselves in the foot. The owners have more money to blow than you do.

  13. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Hey Gary, I have a great idea: if you want this to create momentum, make a concession of your own!

    Oh, but of course, your idea of momentum never involved both sides coming together. My bad, I keep forgetting it takes one side completely conceding while the other doesn’t move a muscle to tango.

    • shotzongoal - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Fehr is trying to Tango to a Rumba tune. His last proposal is like his previous proposals all heavily in favor of the players regarding the HRR. That’s his job! He says the same thing every times using different words but it all leads to giving the players more money. He has not helped create any momentum by playing silly negotiation games. How about proposing a real no strings attached 50 / 50 split. Maybe he should try that. That would open some eyes.

  14. flyerfan2 - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    It may seem small but there is one way the fans can be heard. All those fans who “like” their team on facebook or follow players/teams on twitter need to stop following them. Will it make a difference, most likely it won’t but at least it is a way to directly express to the players and teams how we feel.

    • matt8204 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:20 PM

      No. If/when these clowns come back, you need to vote with your wallet. Money is all these people understand. DO NOT ATTEND GAMES OR SUPPORT THE LEAGUE…PERIOD! That’s the only way the message will get across. MLB attendance fell 20 percent after the ’94 strike and there were several displays of protest by fans that put the fear of God into the league. Why do you think there hasn’t been a work stoppage in that sport since?

  15. jimw81 - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    after today’s interaction with flyers fan, if i was an BOG member, ill ask bettman to recuse himself. this is getting very nasty with players and fans

  16. mikeincmn - Nov 22, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    The sport is on life support at this rate. Look around, outside of the die hards very few people give a crap the NHL isnt playing right now.

    I love the sport, but I am disgusted with both sides and at this rate I could give a crap if half the league goes bankrupt. The reality is that its a marginal sport in the US, a distant 4th in terms of popularity and this many lockouts…..well, I just dont see the fans coming back quickly and ingame some cases ever.

  17. id4joey - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    mikeincmn, you’re right. Hockey is 4th in the US in terms of popularity compared to the NFL, NBA, & MLB. Truth is the NHL is fine with that because they know they will never make it in the top three. Lets face it, the NHL is a Canadian sport, and as long as they stay #1 in Canada and retain the 4 spot in the US they’ll be content. Life support? I don’t think so. They recovered very well from the 04/05 lockout. BTW, National Basketball Association lockouts are as follows; 1995 &1996 with no games cancelled, and 1998–99 & 2011 lockout led to games being cancelled. MLB lockouts = 3 however, no games cancelled. NFL player lockout (not referees) = 1, and no games cancelled.

    Why is there a similarity between the NBA and NHL? Simple! Stern was a mentor to Bettman when they were both with the NBA, both came from the same law firm, which today is working with the NHL during this lockout. What I find more disgusting than the ugly business surrounding sports is how Wall Street and the Federal Reserve screwed over the American public and the global economy.

  18. phillyphanatic77 - Nov 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    This should finally indicate to everyone that nothing about this is a negotiation, it’s about the players conceding on every issue. Yes the owners have made concessions, but only off their first absurd offer. Bettman continues to act as if his hands are tied while the only way to get hockey is if the players come all the way to the owners side. It’s disgusting. I wish my fellow Flyers fan had knocked Bettman out and given him a concussion so he finally realized the type of beating an NHL player takes, and then he’d understand what it means to earn that $8 million a year. I never thought Bettman and the owners would be greedy enough to throw out another season but every time they sit down its more and more likely. How can a commissioner, the man charged with preserving a sport, not realize that he’s killing the league? So disheartened.

    • id4joey - Nov 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Did you see the video clip of the incident between the Flyers fan and Bettman? By the time it was over the fan was apologizing to Bettman. I suppose Bettman was able to diffuse the situation because of his education, and experience as an attorney. I probably would have socked the fan for being disrespectful. Well! Maybe not! To many witnesses and cameras. I will forever blame the players for not understandings their leverage if the season is cancelled, as they are to be blamed for the 04/05 lockout. In the summer of 05 they signed the new CBA with the same terms that was offered to them in Jan/05. So, they ended up losing a year’s salary with nothing to show for it. They need to understand what little leverage they have and cut their loses.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Nov 22, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        There’s no doubt Fehr and the union should understand that Bettman isn’t going to budge, but that in no way means that the owners are in the right. Unless the union stands their ground Bettman will lockout the league every five years until every new demand is met, just as he’s done in every work stoppage since he took over. There has to be some repercussions for 1500+ games the commissioner has eliminated in the past 3 lockouts. I mean seriously, what have the owners conceded? Bettman continually talks about the owners sacrifices, but where are they? They’ve simply moved slightly from the positions they never actually held in their draconian initial offer. And Daly comes out every other day whining that players union isn’t serious about negotiating. Are you kidding me? Can you possibly be anymore hypocritical? Remember Bettman originally told us this lockout is about an unfair 57/43 split in HRR, well the players have conceded there and yet we’re still so far from a deal. This is all about Bettman dominating the union like ’04 so he can satisfy his massive ego. The owners are literally killing the sport they somehow intend to make money off. People don’t pay excessive ticket prices from their hard earned income to watch the owners play. It’s time for ownerships around the league to re-examine their own faulty business practices. It’s so much easier to create a healthy, thriving business when your employees are compensated fairly and treated as if their needs matter, not squeezed for an extra penny. Going to a 50/50 split and limiting free agency rights aren’t going to save the struggling sunbelt teams, and it’s naive to think otherwise. I’ve said it before, if Bettman was serious about helping the teams he relocated to non-hockey markets he would consider revenue sharing or a soft salary cap. And because he outright refuses to even discuss the ideas tells me he’s not serious about improving the health of the NHL, but rather he’s concerned about his salary going up another 115% by the next lockout.

  19. matthewmacisaac - Nov 22, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    The owners should fire Bettman. They have lost money on these lockouts. The players have hired a master negotiator who I’m sure remembers Bettman bragging about the NHL making record profits in April. I’m sure Bettman doesn’t want to come out just before the playoffs and claim the NHL is going broke, but 5 months before your deal expires it is pretty stupid to be bragging about how the League is rolling in money and think the players aren’t paying attention. Most of the Leagues financial problems are trying to keep struggling franchises afloat in areas where they will never be able to draw enough fan interest to keep up with the major markets. Not letting Phoenix relocate to a Canadian city where they would immediately become “The Team” in that market is foolish. A very good product on ice is wasted on a half empty arena. This is not a knock on the fans of Phoenix, they’re the ones showing up, but if you are never going to fill the building, it’s not going to work. After all these years that aspect hasn’t changed in the desert. Atlanta had some great, die hard fans, just not enough of them. It’s a similar situation in Florida. Bettman, for all his supposed education, doesn’t seem to be smart enough to keep from making the same mistakes again and again. That’s either the biggest ego on earth or the biggest idiot. I think the first makes him the second.

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