Share This Page

NHL, union to talk again, but without Penguins players

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
The Penguins' Craig Adams works out at South Point Sept. 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

Hockey's men in suits are still talking, but they're not saying what about.

The NHL and its Players' Association, who have bargained for about 12 hours at an undisclosed location in New York City over the last two days, will meet again Thursday.

A more than five-plus hour bargaining session Wednesday wrapped about 8 p.m.

The sides released statements confirming Thursday's meeting. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr declined further comment. The respective leaders in this labor dispute also declined comment after meeting for more than seven hours Tuesday.

The sides have not met in person for three consecutive days since owners enacted a lockout when the last labor deal expired Sept. 15.

Seven players attended Wednesday's session, down from 13 who were present Tuesday.

High-profile Penguins star Sidney Crosby and team union rep Craig Adams attended the Tuesday meeting. Both players returned to Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning because of a Nor'easter targeting the New York metropolitan area, Crosby said.

The NHL and union are trying to stay mum about details of these meetings because there is a sense from both sides that negotiations are tenuous. However, Adams said in a text message that the vibe Tuesday was “positive and constructive” — though he declined to detail specifics.

The union has targeted revenue-sharing among owners and the method for honoring current contracts as key issues to work out during these negotiations.

Players want clarification on provisions the NHL has made to its “Make Whole” proposal for guaranteeing payment of current contracts. An owners' proposal from Oct. 16 called for a deferred payment of players' deals.

Penguins players such as Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke have said the union will not agree to any agreement that does not mandate full honoring of current contracts.

Those contracts were signed under the last labor agreement — some terms of which will not carry over when or if a new agreement is reached.

Owners' revenue sharing, the “Make Whole” alterations, escrow payments, and contract issues — specifically maximum length, free-agency and entry-level terms — were the main sticking points in this labor dispute as of Tuesday, Penguins players said.

That sentiment would suggest the owners and players have agreed to an arrangement for a time frame to begin a 50/50 revenue split on the next labor deal.

The meetings this week were sparked by lengthy in-person discussions between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr on Saturday. Prior to that session, the NHL and NHLPA had not met face-to-face since Oct. 18.

Wednesday marked Day 53 of the lockout. The NHL canceled games through November and the New Year's Day Winter Classic scheduled for Michigan Stadium between Detroit and Toronto.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rrossi@tribweb.com or 412-380-5635.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.