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CBA Ping-Pong continues: Meeting ends as NHLPA reviews NHL’s newest offer

Jan 1, 2013, 10:21 PM EDT

Donald Fehr: Sidney Crosby AP

After a meager 30-minute meeting, Tuesday’s CBA talks ended because Donald Fehr and the NHLPA need time to review what he called the NHL’s “comprehensive” counter-proposal (via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen).

Fehr told Rosen that he’s “reasonably certain” the two sides will meet on Wednesday while Gary Bettman made a similar prediction to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie. A phone call tomorrow morning is expected to determine if more face-to-face discussions will happen, though.

Fehr’s brief response provided basically zero details, while ESPN’s Katie Strang captured Bettman’s more verbose – but still quite vague – description.

As of this time, there is no word on whether the NHLPA will go forward with a disclaimer of interest, which carries a Wednesday deadline.

Ultimately, the most important dates probably remain Jan. 11 (Bettman’s admitted drop-dead date) and Jan. 19 (the probable goal to start the season). Some say that an agreement must be made by Thursday if they want to start on Jan. 12 instead, though.

***

The discussions are beginning to feel like a Ping-Pong match to many outside observers, whether the offer-trading has been productive or not.

To review the last few days:

The NHL made some concessions in a new offer on Friday. The NHLPA took some time to review the league’s lengthy (some might say “comprehensive”) 288-page offer before presenting a counter-offer on Monday. Finally, the two sides conducted internal meetings on Tuesday until the NHL came back with tonight’s counter-proposal to a counter-proposal.

Overall, the back-and-forth discussions might be a good sign even if the delays made tonight’s dealings feel a bit anticlimactic.

  1. oquintero99 - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    *sigh*

  2. bufffalojoe - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    This shall be the final offer in my eyes, the greed of Fehr is thinking we can still squeeze more out of them. This a a delay tactic on the NHL to try and pass the deadline to file a disclaimer of interest therefor putting the ball back in their hands. The season will be canceled, Fehr will be pissed that he missed his chance to file a claim, he will not return to the bargaining table. Mid July a deal will be reached the players will settle for the original proposal plus a few little small things not originally included. So tired of the egos and games on both sides. On the other hand I’m happy I have a couple thousand more in my bank account due to no hockey. FU NHL/PA #GREED

  3. stangz11 - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    I think the players make one or

  4. stangz11 - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Sorry my finger slipped!

    two more offers. They’ll shoot or that 52 game season to get those paychecks. If the NHL moves a little more this thing gets done

  5. dropthepuckeh - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Does anyone have a clue what schedule they will use IF they ever get a deal done? Will they make an entirely new schedule to maximize conference games and rivalries? Will it be the original schedule with some fillers? I recognize I am putting the cart before the horse but it gives me a small dose of happiness to envision hockey games again and I’ve got some work/travel I need to plan while making sure I see opening night.

    Fingers crossed….

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:42 PM

      It’ll be a brand new schedule, there would be too many inequities to use the regular schedule, so they’ll draw up a brand new one using the previous dates for games (when possible) because they have guaranteed building availability.

      If its anything like 95 expect 48 games with NO games against the other conference…this actually is a huge benefit to almost every Eastern team and a major hindrance to teams like Detroit and Winnipeg because they’ll have to travel a lot for conference games and get very few (Detroit) or none (Winnipeg) games close to them.

      • woodstakes - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:32 AM

        While Winnipeg does have to travel an awful lot, Detroit is not anywhere near what Winnipeg and the Wild in travel time/distances. Most of Detroit’s divisional games are realatively local, while Winnipeg has to go to the east coast and the Wild have to go 2 time zones and the west coast for virtually every divisional game.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        That’s true, I forgot about the Wild.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        One correction though Alberta and Colorado are only one time zone away from Minnesota, Vancouver is the only divisional opponent that’s two.

      • woodstakes - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:19 AM

        Ah good point atwatercrushesokoye, my mind led me down the conference path as I was sniping about divisional stuff… to damn late to be posting I guess! LoL Good catch friend!

      • woodstakes - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:25 AM

        While you brought up that point of travel, that’s one of the things that’s been a talker locally/semi locally about the Parise signing… How the fact that he played in the east his whole career and has never had to deal with the constant travel that the Wild do (until they actually get realignment passed) could really hurt him his first year with the Wild. I did’t buy into that idea all that much, but now (assuming a deal gets made) with a shortened season and much more travel pushed together in a shorter period of time I almost read some credence into that idea.

  6. barkar942 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    First, the players are not crazy enough to disband the union. Litigation would shut down the league for an enormous amount of time, unless the owners decided to hire scabs from elsewhere (like the out of work players in Russia and Europe that the NHL players took jobs from while they were fighting for their new CBA).
    Second, I cannot see the players allowing Fehr to screw this up for them to get a deal done over a couple of smaller items.
    Third, there is a bet between Obama and Bettman to see who settles first, the NHL or the Federal Government.

    • purp1234 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      I’m 48 and just started playing ice hockey after years of roller….I can not break the left foot drag stop habit…I’ll scab it out for a couple of games tho..!

    • barkar942 - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      Oh well, looks like Obama won the bet!

  7. hockeyfan28 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Donald Fehr is running this lockout with management skills that would make him a great future night manager at Arby’s

    • ron05342 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      I doubt it. Being a manager at Arby’s takes much mores skill then Fehr has shown in these negotiations.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      I disagree completely, going into this Fehr had two initiatives (one definitely documented the other speculated)

      1. Get the best deal he possibly can for the players, he’s absolutely doing that, the owners have moved on many of the issues, given several offers after “the best offer they could possibly make” and moved on issues that were supposedly “the hill they would die on” so he’s getting this done.

      2. (speculated not documented) make this process so uncomfortable for the owners and NHL brass (Bettman, Daly, Batterman) that when the upcoming CBA expires they will have very little willingness to go through this again. The way he’s done this, delaying bargaining initially, showing up late to meetings, excusing himself for quick water breaks but taking 20 minutes to get said water so that the owners side is just sitting there staring at each other. And then the final thing he’s doing and probably the biggest one is constantly rotating which players are in each meeting (Bettman hates this he wants the same group every time) but this means that time has to be spent every meeting updating the new players on what’s gone on in the previous meetings.

      While it sucks as a fan because we don’t have hockey, Fehr has ZERO responsibility to the fans, he’s responsible to the players, and in that regard he’s obviously do well with issue 1 and based on how rattled Bettman and Daly were at the December press conference it seems he’s doing quite well with issue 2 as well. And based on that he’s doing his job masterfully.

      • tatdue - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:03 AM

        I couldn’t have said it better myself and now that he finally has the NHL actually negotiating this sh!t should be squared away shortly and we should be enjoying some NHL hockey in a couple weeks…..Both sides are committed so it had to come down to the wire but I don’t think either side are stupid enough to cancel the season…..

      • hockeyfan28 - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        The owners hold the cards if they cancel the season in 10 days that master part will be followed by bater.

      • gallyhatch - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM

        @ atwatercrushes…. THANK YOU!!!! The majority of people on this site blame Fehr for this continuing lockout which absolutely blows my mind…. The man is doing the job he was hired to do, and until now he’s been doing a great job.

        People who disagree with this should go read puck daddy’s recent blog about how Fehr won the lockout. The owners are already making more concessions now than they ever intended or wanted to (remember how 5 year contract limits was the “hill the owners would die on”? Apparently not as they’ve acquiesced to 6 & 7 year limits)

        Fehr’s only doing his job, people crying about him ruining hockey need to get their heads out of their @sses & wake the hell up.

      • shotzongoal - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        It is Fehr’s job to get the best deal for the players. Unfortunately, refusing to begin negotiation early almost makes this unobtainable. Why? Forget the owners and focus on the PA. The players have lost $750M in pay. It is not recoverable. In hindsight it is clear that Fehr wanted to wait till the 11 hour to get serious. The timing and content of the PA prior submissions support this statement. Daly’s “hill to die on” was posturing. Previously there was no clause for contract limitation (number of years) in the CBA but now there will be. There were never contract variance limitations (% of salary) but now there will be. The League made concession and moved off things that if currant media is correct will now be part of the new CBA that never existed in the past. I don’t see haw that is a good thing for Fehr’s rank and file members.

        Your speculation that intentional stalling tactics and delays may be used as negotiation strategies is correct. However the goal of this approach is easily recognized and dismissed, especially when it is as blatant as it has been. This type behavior usually brings animosity into the room which we have seen is never good for the process. Also, nothing has been won for future because in 10 years, most of the people involved will have moved on and time is a great healer. But I hope you are correct and we never see the likes of this again.

        Please believe that neither Bettman nor the League is rattled. Finally where we are now is where we should have been in January of last year, finally negotiating. It was the PA choice to delay negotiations. Unless a union has a strategy to recoup its lost wages either initially or over the long term, it’s pretty hard to claim victory.

  8. bolts1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    If Washington can sort out a mess shouldn’t the NHL be able to?

    • purp1234 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:39 PM

      Yes…we want to handle negotations the way Congress does…bwah-ha-ha.

  9. killerpgh - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Sounds like to the 2 sides are finally negotiating. One side makes an offer. The offer side fully looks its over and makes a counter offer. This is how it should have been done months ago. Instead the NHL/owners had to try and play hard ball and walk away from the talks if things didn’t go the way the wanted. It seems like they have made 3 or 4 final offers and Daily making his stupid comments about the “hill we die on” and now that seems to be not true either.

  10. dlk75150 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    This is the stupidest thing ever. Why couldn’t this had been done in oct.? They all suck

  11. fortwaynekomets - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    these clowns are a complete joke. if they gave the slightest damn about the game of Hockey, we would have had a new CBA last September at the latest!!!

    I support fans who no longer support the NHL UNTIL they make it up to us somehow. Never buy anything with the NHL hologram on it! use eBay do whatever you can to avoid giving money to the NHL. don’t go to the games, they know you’ll come back like little puppets, prove them wrong. watch all the games from home and save money while doing so!

    • badintent - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      Great post ! I hope all the NHL fans support the minor league teams to the end of the season.

  12. buffalo65 - Jan 2, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    I agree totally, like him or not Fehr had done a masterful job for the players.

  13. buffalo65 - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    The issue here is the owners thought they could impose a contract, they have learned with Fehr that this is not the case. Deal will be struck this week, all will be forgiven. Drop the puck so we have something to pass the time till opening day.

  14. acieu - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Fehr is about to accomplish a Nevill Chamberlain victory when he went to Munich.

  15. macjacmccoy - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    I dont know why everyone keeps bring up this “Hill were going to die on quote” Like it was a lie and its over. I might be miss quoting him but I think he said contract lengths would be the hill were are going to die on and not 5 year lengths. Yes they have gave and extra year but by no means has the NHLPA agreed that that extra year will get the deal done. Its not like the players came out and said we will give up 14 year contracts for less then half of that as long as the NHL adds 1 year to their previous offer. I think when Bettman said that they gave a little but stood firm on this newest counter offer I think one of the things he held firm on was contract length. Which would mean that in the players counter offer that they asked for more then a 6 year maximum contract length. Knowing that i still think contract lengths could be the Hill these CBA negotiations die on.

    • macjacmccoy - Jan 2, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      I actually think they will get a deal done in time to save the season. But to mock someone for making a false statement before the statement has even been proven false is kind of presumptuous . An lets be real the guy was crushed when he made the statement. He just came out of a bargaining session that started very hopeful and ended horribly. You cant dwell on a comment a guy makes coming out of something like that. Im not going to berate a guy on his opinion especially when its berthed out of circumstances like those.

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