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They’re baaaaack: Fehr, Bettman returning to talks

Dec 6, 2012, 10:48 AM EDT

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr Getty Images

It had to happen at some point, and that point is today.

Indeed, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be back at the negotiating table after sitting out the last two days of collective bargaining.

The change was a union request, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the six owners that have been representing the league are seasoned businessmen. The players do their jobs on the ice, not in boardrooms. On paper, it was always a negotiating mismatch.

How the presence of Fehr and Bettman affects talks remains to be seen. The last two days have produced progress, but now it’s getting down to the short strokes. If the sides haven’t been willing to budge on the remaining issues up to this point, clearly they feel strongly about their positions.

  1. steelhammer92 - Dec 6, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Lost season.

    • thailer35 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      That’s my first instinct as well. But perhaps they just need them to come in and sign some paperwork?

      I dream… I dream…

    • bmscalise - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Actually – my instinct is to say just the opposite. I think that these two are back in the room because they are really close to a deal. Neither side is actually going to sign anything without their heads: it’s the endgame.

  2. ravenscaps48 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Here we go again!

  3. bensawesomeness - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    i was going to say something like ‘we’re doomed’, but the article’s right. The owners are seasoned businessmen, the players are really good at playing hockey. Definite Mismatch. Bringing these two back to the table just makes sure the players don’t get destroyed without knowing it

  4. coreydm80 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    There goes all hope

  5. deadrabbit79 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Here is more wonderful news……

    @TSNBobMcKenzie: I can tell you there’s a hugely negative vibe emanating from both sides right now. Keeping this process on rails today will be challenging.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      TSNBobMcKenzie: All I can tell you is there’s a really bizarre dynamic right now and so many mixed signals coming from both sides.

  6. tackledummy1505 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Bettman and Fehr both need to just walk away from their job before they kill a sport

    • mountainmantride - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      The sport has already been killed.

  7. cweez2 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Or…maybe it’s getting closer to crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s time.

    I want to think they’re close.

  8. zuke13 - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Great-time to take two steps back

  9. cruuuzcontrol - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    A request for their presence is not a bad thing, as their approval on any deal is probably required given their job titles. Likewise, a report that there’s been any kind of “setback” or talks have soured isn’t a bad thing either, at least not in the sense that any potential for a deal has disappeared. It’s all part of the process and I would assume Friday is still a realistic goal for both sides. Everyone just needs to step off the ledge and not be so focused on reading every tea leaf.

  10. raiderufan - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    It crazy how disheartening it feels knowing these 2 are getting back into the negotiations….it could easily be them needed to finalize a deal but it just doesn’t feel that way. It’s like they’re always the ones brought in to screw a good thing up. I really really hope not….

  11. capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Things seem to be slipping again…in terms of just being positive. The fact that has occurred in step with Fehr and Bettman coming back into the picture is probably not coincidence. It is almost like, the more they are involved, the more sway the hardliners get, like Jacobs. Pure speculation on my part. Good news is that if this fails, season is over and we can stop the cycle of hope followed by disappointment.

    • capesouth - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Maybe they are being brought back in simply bc a decision is going to be made, good or bad.

  12. stakex - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    People need to rememebr that just because they two weren’t in the room, doesn’t mean they didn’t have a lot of input over the last couple days. Them being back at the table probably doesn’t change a whole lot.

    Its also worth noting that Bettman said the other day that he wants a deal done by Friday…. so there would be increased urgency from him, and perhaps from Fehr if the players feel the same way.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whos at the table, both sides need to get past the remaining sticking points. If they can’t do it with Bettman and Fehr in the room, they probably can’t do it at all. The progress made over the last couple days have a lot more to do with where we are in terms of days left in the season, then it did with who was actually doing the talking.

  13. ducksk - Dec 6, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    It’s down to peanuts. Both want a few things and both want to win a little for thier sides in the end so all can feel the fight was worth it. I think it’s a good sign, give a little, get a little. Bam. Game on. (Please)

    • stakex - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      I think you’re right to assume that, despite the negative vibe coming out from some, its a good thing that they are pretty much only fighting over contract and CBA length at this point. Those are not issues either side is likely to throw the season away over no matter what they say. Someone gives today.

  14. shotzongoal - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Although these two were not in the room, they were very much involved in the negotiations through the many caucuses the groups called. They have to sign off on a deal. About a month ago Steve Fehr said, “One thing Bill Daly and I agree on; when the moment is right [a] deal will be done very quickly.” I think the recent sessions have shown that the moment is right for an agreement. At least hope the moment is right…

  15. blomfeld - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    GAME ON !!!

    The latest now is that the NHL will break from tradition by starting on Christmas Day and that tickets for these games are to be “heavily” discounted by as much as 75% ! … look for “the announcement” to be made sometime during the next 24-36 hours … :) :) :)

    • mountainmantride - Dec 6, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      You’d still pay money to watch this morons conduct business like they do. Sheep. They go on strike to slice up more of your money for themselves while you sit at home anxiously waiting to hand them more. What are you thinking? 75% discount, like that’s some kind of victory. Hand YOUR money over to these greedy idiots all you want. My money is staying right here with me.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Blomfeld I love your optimism and would love to wake up to a couple of tickets under the tree on Christmas Day. Hope your Kings, err Stanley Cup Champion Kings are on tap to play the Canucks in VCR on that day.

  16. capone888 - Dec 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    No progress was made. They are not calling them back because they are so close to a deal now. The players called back their rep because they figured out how out of place they were at a bargaining table. The article summed it up. This was a bad idea from the start. It is a mismatch. It would be like the players challenging the six owners to a game of hockey to settle their differences. Lost season.

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