Dec 7, 2012, 5:17 PM EST
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 TSN.ca. “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).
Dec 10, 2013, 1:00 AM EST
The Ducks are 11-0-2 in Anaheim this season.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:25 AM EST
He could miss more time, too.
Dec 9, 2013, 11:22 PM EST
No timeline yet for his return from various ailments.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:51 PM EST
Ottawa wins shootout by slim margin.
Dec 9, 2013, 10:21 PM EST
They’ve won six straight games at home.
Dec 9, 2013, 9:56 PM EST
There’s a chance Zbynek Michalek could be back, though.
Dec 9, 2013, 9:27 PM EST
First bout for Couturier, fourth for Turris.
Dec 9, 2013, 8:55 PM EST
Quite a way to end Columbus’ 162-minute shutout streak.
Dec 9, 2013, 8:42 PM EST
NHL’s Board of Governors ratified the Canadian TV deal.
Dec 9, 2013, 7:35 PM EST
“Well that’s just super,” the Blue Jackets probably didn’t say.
Dec 9, 2013, 7:31 PM EST
“There are other ways to respond.”
Dec 9, 2013, 6:53 PM EST
Adding some toughness.
Dec 9, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
Red Wings actually fared well in his absence.
Dec 9, 2013, 5:15 PM EST
Jon Cooper knows it could be a lot worse.
Dec 9, 2013, 4:25 PM EST
“We’re pretty frustrated,” said Ryan McDonagh.
Dec 9, 2013, 3:55 PM EST
Anaheim’s coming off two impressive wins over the ‘Hawks and Blues.
Dec 9, 2013, 3:17 PM EST
Tough times in the Chicago goal.
Dec 9, 2013, 2:45 PM EST
All the latest from the blue paint…
Dec 9, 2013, 2:44 PM EST
They’re in Anaheim to play the Ducks tonight.
Dec 9, 2013, 2:08 PM EST
Sounds like it could be.
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