NHL, union talk, but no progress on contract issues
There are indisputable facts that indicate an increased level of urgency between the NHL and its Players' Association.
Talk from both sides suggests there is no end in sight to a lockout nearing two months in length.
Day 57 of the lockout passed Sunday but not without a 90-minute bargaining session. The league and union have met to negotiate five of the last six days after limited negotiations since the lockout began Sept. 15.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said Sunday he “suspects it won't be too long” before future meetings, but there are no set plans for another negotiation.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are scheduled to attend Hockey Hall of Fame ceremonies Monday in Toronto.
The NHLPA plans to request that future negotiations move to that Canadian city after group meetings this week took place in New York. The Sunday negotiation was staged at NHL headquarters in Manhattan, though previous sessions last week were held at the offices of a law firm that represents the league.
Games through November along with the New Year's Day Winter Classic outdoor game (and accompanying events) are canceled. The NHL would like to play a shortened season, at least 60 games, starting no later than the first week of December.
The NHL and NHLPA are divided on many fronts, with disputes on owners' revenue sharing, annual revenue division and the method for guaranteeing players' current contracts. Also, there is no consensus on how to project future revenue growth given the loss of games this season and an anticipated pushback from disillusioned fans and sponsors.
Contracting issues carried the Sunday negotiation.
On that matter, Daly said there was “no progress,” and Fehr said he could not see “path to an agreement.”
Owners have proposed five-year maximum veteran contracts and for free agency to begin at age 28 or after eight seasons of service.
This push for limits is because owners want to mandate against front-loaded deals such as the ones signed this summer –– most notably by the Minnesota Wild, a mid-revenue franchise, which won the free-agency sweepstakes for forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.
The dual $98 million deals for Parise and Suter call for the Wild to pay for larger chunks of actual salary early in those contracts.
The Penguins had resisted front-loading contracts, at least under the 13-year tenure of majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle. Star Sidney Crosby, however, was signed to a 12-year, $104.4 million extension in July that will pay him more money in the early years of his deal.
“The contract rights are very important to clubs,” Daly said.
The union opposition to contract restrictions is as strong as its stance against immediate implementation of a 50/50 split of revenue –– a record $3.3 billion last season –– between players and owners.
Penguins union representative Craig Adams often cited contractual issues when addressing the greatest gaps between players and owners. A majority of players' contracts will expire after this season, and there is concern from veterans who do not want their potential earnings affected by term restrictions on future deals.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5635.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Healthy again, Penguins’ Dupuis eager for game action
- Penguins notebook: Wild beat Pens behind Pominville’s hat trick
- Penguins notebook: Scuderi OK with new defensive system
- With analytics, NHL is whole new game
- Penguins’ Kapanen bolsters chance to make team in exhibition win
- Penguins notebook: Injury to sideline Bennett 6 weeks
- Ex-assistant Granato: No animosity toward Penguins
- Apparent knee injury leaves Penguins’ Bennett in limbo
- Penguins’ Kapanen impressing under tutelage of Maatta
- Veteran right winger Adams fighting for roster spot with Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Ex-teammate Cooke says ‘I feel for’ Shero, Bylsma