ShareThis Page

Little optimism, no talks planned in NHL labor dispute

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 7:08 p.m.

NEW YORK — The rhetoric is rising, and time until the planned start of the NHL regular season is dwindling.

And now it seems more likely than not that regular-season games will be canceled before the league and players' association even get back to the negotiating table.

The sides broke off talks Tuesday after just two hours, and it was hard to find optimism anywhere that the season would avoid a major disruption — just seven years after a full season was lost to a lockout.

“Not prepared to speculate on next steps at this point,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email Wednesday. “Obviously, we've been saying for over a month now that we would welcome a new proposal from the Players' Association. That continues to be our position. (It's) not a constructive position to say, ‘Here's our first offer. We think it's really good. Call us back when you are ready to accept it.' That's what the union has effectively done here.”

Daly said the NHL has no timetable for when it will start calling off regular-season games.

The season is slated to open Oct. 11. But with training camps on hold and all preseason games canceled, it is hard to imagine the NHL can stick to that schedule if a deal with the players' association isn't reached in the next day or two.

With no new negotiations scheduled, that seems to be nearly impossible.

When the sides met Tuesday for the fourth time in five days, they again focused on secondary issues, not the core economics that have the NHL and the union at odds.

With little to discuss, the meeting broke up relatively quickly and left both groups frustrated.

Daly said the league has lost $100 million in revenue from canceled preseason games. The sides are fighting about how to divide more than $3 billion in hockey-related revenues. Players received 57 percent of that pot in the previous collective bargaining agreement, and the NHL wants that to drop below 50 percent in the new deal.

Players have offered to take a smaller cut, as long as there is more revenue sharing between the richer and poorer franchises.

Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr contends that the union has made proposals that move closer to the NHL's position and that the league has moved farther away from the players. Steve Fehr, the union's special counsel, disputed Daly's assessment that progress wasn't made.

“Talks can resume anytime they're ready,” he said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.