NHLPA doesn’t make new offer; talks to resume Tuesday
By Josh Yohe
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012, 10:06 p.m.
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012
The NHL and its Players' Association met Monday night in New York, but no new proposals were made.
Donald Fehr, the executive director of the Players' Association, initiated the meeting with the league. The NHL was not pleased that Fehr, who called for the meeting, did not offer a new proposal.
“I'm frustrated,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who maintains that the league never has received a complete proposal from Fehr.
Although no proposals were made and nothing was decided, the sides agreed to meet Tuesday in New York.
Penguins player representative Craig Adams and defenseman Brooks Orpik were among 18 players at the meeting. Adams told the Tribune-Review on Monday night that, although negotiations broke off, the players and other members of the NHLPA team decided to meet internally to discuss the latest developments.
The NHL brought aboard two high-profile figures to the meeting. Brendan Shanahan — the NHL's head disciplinarian and a favorite of many players — and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke were present, along with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Daly.
Earlier in the day, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was unsure how to feel about the latest round of meetings.
“I'm trying not to get too optimistic,” Crosby said. “When that's happened, it hasn't really developed into anything. I'm just waiting to see. Hopefully, we'll get good news from New York.”
The most pressing issues in the labor dispute — namely core economic issues like the splitting of league revenue, a decision regarding payments of previously signed contracts, a maximum length of new deals and free agency — were on the agenda Monday.
Should the labor dispute be settled in the near future, time remains for a partial season. As far as the players are concerned, a shortened season is better than no season.
“Anything that would get decided by early next month would allow us to play a good chunk of games,” Crosby said.
That the sides are meeting gave some of the Penguins working out Monday at Southpointe a glimmer of hope.
“There's always a cautious optimism when they meet,” Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “We're hoping to hear good news.”
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.
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NHL said NHLPA never gave a "full" proposal. How is that possible? Can someone explain why it would be imprudent for Fehr to put in front of the NHL a "full" proposal, whatever that is? I'm not saying change it to somewhere more in the middle. If they never put down a full proposal, why not pick one of the partial ones and make it full? Again, no idea what partial or full means?
Submitted by: Jared on Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Bear with me here...this isn't a short post...but there is a point. Way back in the dark ages (i.e. when I was in law school), I took a class called Effective Legal Negotiations (or something like that...like I said, this was a long time ago). Anyway. The professor was a big believer in making the class as practical as possible, so she would pair the students up once each week, and give us an exercise to do. They took the form of framed negotiation scenarios, and we would each be given a side and a list of priorities, and then told to go make a deal. They were set up specifically to make it difficult - but possible - to come up with agreements that benefitted both sides. If a given pair failed to make an agreement before the 5:00 p.m. Friday deadline, they failed the exercise. When asked about that rule, the professor said something very much like: "if you rely on deadlines - whether they're real or artificial - to make your agreement for you, you haven't actually done anything...so you get no credit for doing anything." I can't help but remember those words now. In Gary Bettman and Don Fehr, the NHL and NHLPA appear to have chosen two guys to negotiate a deal, even though both of them appear historically to rely almost exclusively on work stoppages as their principle negotiating tool. Bettman has never delivered much of anything to the League in terms of player concessions without locking the players out. Fehr - who has zero history with hockey - has never delivered much of anything in the way of owner concessions without a players' strike (of the eight CBAs he negotiated during his time with the MLBPA, six - including five in a row - were the result of work stoppages). When you get those two personalities facing each other, what did everyone expect? A fair number of people go on about how these guys are brilliant negotiators and their respective constituencies hired them for that reason and all the rest. But I can't help but think...by the standards that I was taught, both have been colossal failures for pretty much their entire careers. A work stoppage - most likely a long one - has been a near-inevitability since the NHLPA hired Don Fehr. Period. And there likely is no end in sight unless and until Bettman's and Fehr's masters realize that their champions are nothing more than con artists who have built their reputations and careers entirely on being willing to cause discord around and strife to the very people that they claim to represent. And to do it indefinitely. I can hear them now: "We need to remain strong to demonstrate to the other side that we have the will to outlast them." "This is a war of attrition, and we must see it through." "They've taken advantage of the system that was created under the old CBA, and we're going to have to be able to wait it out and force them to come awy from the advantages that they've had." "I can't believe that they're monkeying around with PR ploys when there's meaningful work to be done." "We're willing to talk...but they aren't." To both sides: yeah, you guys keep believing that. They need you unified...they need you mad at the other side...they need to cultivate the image of their own side as the victim. Because that's the only way that Fehr and Bettman respectively can have any hope of accomplishing anything here. By standing on your shoulders until you've passed out with the effort and sacrifices that you've made on the altar of their only negotiating tactic: intransigence coupled with total indifference to the effect that it has on their clients.