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Crombeen: It’s “mind-boggling” that NHL broke off talks

Dec 7, 2012, 8:12 PM EDT

BJ Crombeen

B.J. Crombeen is a part of the NHLPA’s negotiating committee and described the dramatic collapse of the CBA talks on Thursday as “mind-boggling,” based on a Tampa Bay Times report.

The owners offered the players an additional $100 million in the hope that the players would concede to the NHL’s demands in three key areas. Talks broke down after the players came back to the owners with a counter-offer rather than the yes or no response the owners were looking for.

As far as Crombeen is concerned, the league was employing a “bully tactic.”

“The deal is right there in front of them,” Crombeen said Friday. “It’s pretty simple for them if they want to make a deal, but they made it very clear to us that they don’t. They’re trying to squeeze five more cents out of a deal that can be done, and we can be back playing hockey sooner.”

Crombeen argues that there’s only a “minimal” difference between what the players are offering and the owners are asking for.

“They’re just saying it’s our way or the highway. It’s the wrong way to go about it,” Crombeen said. “They can say how much they’re giving up and how much they’re going beyond what they’re supposed to, but you look at the deal we’re giving up and the deal we’re going to get and in every single aspect of it we’re giving up.”

The CBA that the players were offering contains conditions less favorable to them than the CBA that expired. That being said, the league would argue that they’ve altered their stance significantly since the lockout began.

“We moved drastically in almost every area we had and their big gift was to give us back free agency and salary arbitration and entry-level contracts to what they are right now,” Crombeen said. “It’s mind-boggling that they expect us to think that’s a fair and equitable deal.”

The NHL stated Thursday night that the concessions they made over the week are now off the table. In addition to that, they are no longer offering the Make Whole proposal.

It remains to be seen when talks will resume again.

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