Skip to content

Hainsey blames “miscommunication” for breakdown in CBA talks

Dec 7, 2012, 5:17 PM EDT

Ron Hainsey Getty Images

Was miscommunication to blame for the breakdown of talks between NHL owners and players?

Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey thinks yes.

The league, meanwhile, says no.

So who’s right?

Well, let’s start with the league’s side of the events that transpired during this week’s meetings that were held without NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA chief Donald Fehr.

From Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonikas:

It turned out to be just [Bill] Daly and Steve Fehr with six owners – including four fresh faces – and a group of almost 20 players. The idea Tuesday was to talk big picture and find out what both sides really needed. Things went well. There was hope on both sides. The optimism carried into the NHL’s board of governors meeting Wednesday.

Then the optimism “almost inexplicably disappeared,” in Bettman’s words, when the sides talked specifics after the board meeting. The owners offered the $300 million in “make-whole” money, up from $211 million. The players said their priority was now a pension plan, when that was not their priority in the past.

“The union’s response was shockingly silent,” Bettman said. “There was almost no direct reaction. It was, ‘Thank you. We’ll take the hundred million dollars.’ The owners were beside themselves. Some of them I had never seen that emotional. And they said they don’t know what happened, but, ‘This process is over. Clearly the union doesn’t want to make a deal.’ “

But that wasn’t the case, according to Hainsey. If the players insulted the owners with their response, it wasn’t their intention.

“There was clearly a communication issue with what was being transpired across the table,” Hainsey told “They hadn’t understood it properly I guess, or it just hadn’t been communicated right and there was an issue there and so that was when I thought it was troublesome. We needed to think about getting the lead guys back in there; both sides not just our side because being clear and getting this done we felt was there to do.”

At which point the players insisted on the return of Donald Fehr to negotiations. To which the owners said fine, but “if that’s the case, don’t expect us to stay involved,” according to Daly.

In the end, both sides acknowledged that too many voices may have been problematic.

“When there’s 18 players in the room and six owners, there’s a lot of people who want to share their view, and there’s a lot of stuff to take in. It’s not just direct negotiations, and I feel that’s where we got off-track a little,” said Hainsey.

“I wouldn’t disagree with Ron that it is difficult to have real ‘negotiations’ with so many people in the room,” said Daly. “It really needs to be done in a much tighter group setting.”

That being said, Daly doesn’t believe miscommunication was ultimately to blame for the failure to bridge the gap.

Instead, it was simply a matter of the NHLPA failing to agree to the NHL’s three must-haves: five-year max contracts, a 10-year CBA, and no compliance issues (e.g. escrow limits, buyouts).

Related: Miller denies calling out Jacobs during meeting

  1. sampulls - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Hainsey is probably the most arrogant player. What’s ironic about this process is that he is the very definition of players getting paid too much ($4+million year).

    • sal1117 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Good for Ron !!! Know how much he misses Atlanta !!!! Spoke with him recently…
      Says where he plays now is such a “minor league town”. HOW TRUE !!!!!!

      NHL needs to get NHL BACK TO ATLANTA !!!! PERIOD< No crap from canada fans…

      Move NJD to Atlanta, real easy !!!!!

      We all know how buttman LIES to hockey fans, He really LIED to Atlanta fans !!!, Just like Atlanta STUPID Group did, the REAL reason they moved, so bring them back !!!!!!!!!

      No more minor league cities in NHL !!!! Atlanta deserves NHL HOCKEY AGAIN !!!!!!!

      • carlo1961 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        Did he really say that ? wow . was he happy in Atlanta ? do you know him or was he in town?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        You guys had 2 chances already. Winnipeg was holding Jets rallies with 30000+ people before there were any serious talks of getting a team back. Atlanta could barely scrounge up a few hundred to support the Thrashers before they left. The dream is over, dude.

      • bdawkins2 - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        Atlanta has the worst pro fans in the world – in ALL sports. It’s embarrassing. I’m sure all 6 of your die-hard Atlanta ice hockey fans would love to see the team come back but it’s failed twice in the Atlanta already. I don’t think you’re going to get a third team for the great fans of Atlanta to not support.

      • jhunter21 - Dec 8, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        What the heck is an Atlanta Thrasher?

  2. Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Who the heck is Ron Hainsey?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      The guy had 21+ ATOI with a +9 when virtually every other Dman on his team had a negative +/-. He is admittedly a little overpaid but he’s a great shutdown guy.

  3. id4joey - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Valoisvipers, Sources tell me this guy is one of the trouble makers in the union.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      History has proved you and your sources right again.

  4. jernster21 - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Maybe it was a miscommunication because his whole statement to TSN makes absolutely no sense. When I read that, I read “we f***ed up.”

  5. ruddigervancity - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    This sounds like it is the owners who are overreacting, not that the players were throwing everything in their faces.

    So you added $100 million into the pot. You also tied it to a no-move position on two critical issues. What did you expect the players to do – jump up and down and thank you for your Christmas generosity? Grow up. This is a negotiation. If you had conceded all points and the union still sat there stoically, well then maybe I’d see your point that the silence was shocking. But I see it as just another in a long line of proposals to which nobody ought to have expected any kind of overt reaction. Seriously, have none of these people actually negotiated an agreement before?

  6. chrisvegas - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Bettman rather cry to the media then negotiate like a man.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      I think the players realize the NHL put the offer in front of them they had waited and waited for and they scoffed at it. Now in retrospect they want a redo.

      Honestly if one believes Fehr is “just doing his job for the players” then It’s hypocritical to think Bettman isn’t just doing his job fro the owners.

      Fehr screwed up. They have a day and a half of positive movement just for Fehr to take a risk that blew up in his face. If the player’s come out worse off than they would of with 300 million of make whole/pension funds they ahve only their union chief to blame.

  7. rico33rd - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Watched Hainsey play last year being a Winnipeg season ticket holder. Wow, has to rank in the top 2 of most overpaid players I the league. At best a 7th or 8th defenseman on any team in the league. For him to challenge anything about a contract is absurd, he should be happy to make 4 million in a career, not say in a year. Pathetic

  8. solador78 - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    This reminds of that time Israel decided not to negotiate with the Palestinians as long as Arafat was still in power. And then they poisoned him just like Bob Goodenow. The NHL won’t be happy until Brendan Shanahan is the new union boss.

    • blomfeld - Dec 8, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      your assessment is accurate friend …

  9. chrisvegas - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    What concessions have the owner’s made from the recently expired CBA to the one currently under negotiations? Answer = The owners haven’t given up anything. So to me the Owners are full of it. The only ones really negotiating are the Players. The only ones who gave anything up from the last CBS are the players. The arrogance of Bettman and the owners will cost us this season. I hope the players don’t give in to their bullying.

  10. vanchuk - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    ““The union’s response was shockingly silent,” Bettman said. “There was almost no direct reaction. It was, ‘Thank you. We’ll take the hundred”

    That, to me, sounds an awful lot like how these “negotiations” started. With the roles reversed…owners make outlandish proposal, players concede a few points, owners make slightly less outlandish proposal, players concede a few more points and so on and so forth. There have been no real concessions from the owners until this point. And there has been no gratitude or giveback from the owners to offset the players concessions, until this! What would you expect from the players? They’re just reacting the exact same way that you have been throughout the entire negotiation.

    Owners need to lose the “woe is me” attitude and start operating their businesses like a real business! If your business isn’t working, you’re probably doing something wrong. Or maybe you’re doing it right, but in the wrong place

  11. rico33rd - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    The average player only lasts 5 or 6 years and is easily replaced. Owners are hard to come by, just ask Phoenix. If players took a vote I bet 75% wished they would have said yes a month ago.

    • killerpgh - Dec 8, 2012 at 2:51 AM

      You do know the Coyotes would sell in probably 24 hours if the team could relocate right?

  12. Doesnotmatter - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    oh, so they wanted to work out the new CBA with the 18 players present at the meeting? Makes sense because that’s how its done, right? Without their legal representative? The guy they hired to do the actual negotiating? Hey, guys, just sign this, its really not that important. Then just have your teammates to sign this bunch of papers also. Its nothing, really. Its a new zamboni thing. Has to do with pucks and stuff like that. And sticks and ice quality. Jokers…….

  13. sampulls - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    It’s mind boggling how stupid chrisvegas is.
    Still thinks this is a win / lose situation.

  14. sippindasyzurp - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Dont worry.. A deal will get done because the agents will start getting involved and not let the players miss a season.. The agents have more pull on the players except for the wives.. This will get done cause the agents and league know they will need to contract franchises if they missed 1+ yrs of nhl

  15. matt8204 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Hainsey probably is on the phone with his bookie in that picture.

    Give me the Giants minus three against New Orleans on Sunday.

  16. kitshky - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    “I demand you give me $1,000! …. ok ok fine I only demand you give me $800. See how I just gave you $200??” – The owners and Gary Bettman.

  17. acieu - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Sounds like you are an IRS Agent

  18. blomfeld - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Hainsey Schmainsey !

    Now it’s “possible” that I’ve heard of this guy before, as opposed to that Crombeen character who I don’t know from Adam ? At any rate, here we are being introduced to yet another frighted and confused member of the flock. Well good for him, as the fact is that he’s going to get notification to report to training camp fairly soon now. Whether it’s 60, 56, 52 or 48 x games is completely irrelevant at this point. The bottom line is that there “will” be a season this year and it’s looking more and more likely that the NBA model from last year was the template used in Bettman’s scheme. I personally don’t like this, especially with my King’s having to defend and all. But I’ll still take a shortened season over “nothing” which all of you hacks have been clamoring for !

    ps: and when the season does start, I assume all those who’ve been spewing their negativity here for the last 3 months will see to it that they leave this website accordingly … thanks

    GO BETTMAN !!!

    GO 2012-13 NHL SEASON !!!


  19. flyeredup - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Hainsey’s brain is as big as a raisin. Clueless goof

  20. acieu - Dec 8, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    Yes poor communications. The NHL understands the difference between No and Yes and acted accordingly.

  21. mungman69 - Dec 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Well, this season is shot to hell. Look at all of the money that the fans are saving.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1785)
  2. P. Kessel (1688)
  3. M. Richards (1441)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1267)
  5. N. Backstrom (1166)