Penguins' Adams: We wanted to continue meeting
Craig Adams, the Penguins' NHLPA representative, was in New York for last weekend's labor negotiations.
He wishes he were still there.
“We asked the league to continue the meeting into Monday,” Adams said. “They said they couldn't. The league wasn't interested, I guess. They said they needed to do internal stuff. Hopefully we'll meet again soon.”
Adams' tone has clearly become more somber since the league locked players out Sept. 15. It took the sides almost three weeks to meet following their previous negotiation session Sept. 12, and Adams had little positive to report from three meetings over the weekend.
“It's very frustrating right now,” he said. “We're not making a lot of progress.”
Adams did acknowledge that minor agreements have been made.
Still, that the sides couldn't agree to even discuss the core financial issues — and make no mistake, the division of future league revenues is at the heart of this debate — is troubling to Adams.
“I don't know who suggested it to who that we only discuss the smaller things,” Adams said. “But, of course, both sides know it needs to get done at some point and that we need to talk about the big issues.”
Adams said the NHL and NHLPA came to some agreements, namely on drug testing, player health and player safety. But even those agreements are not set in stone.
“Nothing's agreed upon until everything is agreed upon,” Adams said. “That's just the way it is.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr have not agreed to any future meetings.
Adams said the NHLPA is hungry to negotiate a new labor agreement, but the league is essentially stalling and displaying little interesting in negotiating.
“Absolutely I feel that way,” Adams said. “I really do.”
The NHL is likely to cancel a wave of early regular-season games this week if a deal isn't struck. With the regular season scheduled to begin in 10 days — the Penguins' first game is scheduled Oct. 12 at home against the New York Islanders — the start of the season is almost absolutely going to be delayed.
For how long it is delayed is anyone's guess.
That the sides aren't scheduled to speak anytime soon is ominous in Adams' eyes. He skated with eight teammates at Southpointe on Monday morning in an informal workout.
“We want to get this done,” he said. “But they don't seem like they're in a big hurry to negotiate. Frustrating. Very frustrating.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161, Ext. 1975.