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Westgarth: Owners weren’t up to speed on negotiations

Dec 10, 2012, 1:17 PM EDT

kevinwestgarthgetty Getty Images

Last week during players-owners meetings, Kevin Westgarth says the NHLPA reps had a greater understanding of the state of negotiations than those across the table.

“It became obvious that the guys they brought in had nowhere near a complete understanding of what the proposals were and where we were in the negotiations,” Westgarth told the New York Times.

“I thought it was great that Ron Burkle, Larry Tanenbaum, Mark Chipman and Jeff Vinik got involved — clearly they’re passionate and care about the game — but it shows how tightly controlled the league is.”

Westgarth echoed that statement again today during an interview with the FAN 590, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Cotsonika. Westgarth claimed that the players had to politely correct the owners new to the talks.

If true, it may lend credence to Ron Hainsey’s claim that miscommunication was partly to blame for the breakdown of talks.

  1. solador78 - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    It’s obviously Donald Fehr’s fault.

    • killerpgh - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      If what Westgarth is saying is correct how can that be Fehr’s fault? It isn’t his job to get the “new” owners up to date with the late details. Especially if he wasn’t in the room.

      • shotzongoal - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:09 PM


      • solador78 - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        The NHL blamed Fehr for not bringing the players up to speed. The players caught a ride to negotiations with the owners in their private jets. You do the math.

  2. mj1818 - Dec 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    We just want hockey. Hopefully they can come to an agreement sometime this hockey season.

  3. shotzongoal - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    If Westgarth thinks that we are to believe that Bettmen and Daly did not prepare, and bring those four owners up to date on the state of the negotiations, he has taken one too many pucks to the head. I think it’s reasonable to to assume that both the players and owners were counseled by the principals in the days prior to the meetings. I wish the rhetoric and spinning would stop and the negotiation continue.

    • stakex - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Exactly. Lets not forget the whole player/owner thing was Bettmans idea. He wasn’t going to throw owners into the meetings that had no idea where things stand.

      It should also be said that we know exactlly why the meetings blew up last week: The owners told the players the three things that absolutely had to have if there was going to be a deal, and wanted a simple yes or no on them…. the players responded with an offer that didn’t give them any of them. Hench the owners broke off the talks.

      If there was a miscommunication, it was the players not hearing the owners…. not the other way around.

    • ron05342 - Dec 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      You are forgetting this guy is a Princeton grad. Just to hear him speak you know he is very intelligent.

      I am willing to give Westy the benefit of the doubt here. Now, if it was Brandon Prust making this claim…

  4. chef24g - Dec 10, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Someone tell this idiot if the owners were not very familiar with the negotiations, why did Fehr say during the press conference that they were close a deal. Tell the players to keep there mouths shut cause they sound dumber every time they open them. Stick with hockey buddy…..

    • shotzongoal - Dec 10, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Lets assume that what Westgarth said is 100% factual. The well informed players had to talk down to bring 4 NHL owners up to speed on the status of negotiations. What is the purpose of his comment. Here we are at the 11 hour of negotiations and it’s seems to me that calling 4 owners ignorant (lacking knowledge) isn’t very helpful. Maybe they should add a course of tact or sensitivity to Princeton’s curriculum.

  5. buckeye044 - Dec 10, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    What else would you expect him to say? So tired of the spin from each side.

  6. 127taringa - Dec 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Not true. I am sure all owners are up to speed on the players being a bunch of whiners.

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