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Daly: expectations “low” for today

Jan 4, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT

Gary Bettman; Bill Daly AP

As optimism once again turns to pessimism, the NHL’s expectations are “low” heading into today’s CBA negotiations (if they even occur), writes deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to CSNPhilly.com.

Daly’s assertion comes as no shock given what happened yesterday in New York.

From CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

The players were angered [Thursday] because the HRR package received from the NHL was “missing” some key language. The critical part involved penalties for teams hiding HRR. In 2011, the two sides had a dispute over what was reported by Washington and Nashville, and with such erosion of trust right now, you can imagine the reaction to this. 

To put it another way, the players accused the NHL of trying to pull a fast one that would lessen penalties for pulling a fast one. (Call it mistrust squared.)

Yesterday also saw NHLPA call for a re-vote by the players to authorize its executive board within 48 hours to file a disclaimer of interest that would dissolve the union and push the lockout into uncharted waters.

Then, late last night, the Winnipeg Free Press published the following report:

A veteran member of the NHL’s board of governors says commissioner Gary Bettman is prepared to cancel the season on Thursday if a deal has not been reached or appears to be imminent.

The chill that has settled on NHL labour negotiations is all part of a Don Fehr plan to push commissioner Bettman into a corner for one last squeeze and there could be unfortunate circumstances for hockey fans, said the governor who requested anonymity.

The league believes Fehr is unwilling to do a deal until after Bettman has cancelled the NHL season and the union leader is now slowing the process one last time to increase pressure on the commissioner, said the governor late Thursday night.

That report, of course, was met with a good deal of cynicism. Was the threat real or empty? The union will probably go with the latter.

This morning, the two sides are meeting separately with a federal mediator, after which they may or may not get together in the same room.

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