The NHL Players' Association has requested another negotiating meeting to work out a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout, but the NHL doesn't seem to think that the session would be productive, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
The union has offered to meet, but, unless PA is willing to work off NHL's offer, Daly says there's no reason to meet.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 24, 2012
NHL remains firm, willing to negotiate with the PA by only working off NHL offer tabled last Tues. NHL wants next meeting to be an end pt.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 23, 2012
Here's another update from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period:
NHLPA hasn't been told directly from the NHL that they're unwilling to meet.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 24, 2012
It's certainly possible that the players' willingness to talk is just a PR move ahead of Thursday's deadline to reach a deal for a full season, but even if that's the case, there's no reason for the league to refuse to meet.
They suggested they were willing to meet. But they also told us they weren't interested in the proposal made last Tuesday and that they weren't prepared to make their own proposal. Not sure what we would be meeting about?
NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr was disappointed with the league's reaction (via Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press):
Steve Fehr: "The league is apparently unwilling to meet. That is unfortunate as it is hard to make progress without talking."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 24, 2012
The only way this CBA dispute will be solved is if both sides meet, even if they don't want to bargain from a certain proposal already on the table.
If the two sides get back to the table, they can discuss ways to bridge the gap on important issues and come up with creative ways to get to a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenues quickly while still honoring current players' contracts.
The clock is ticking, but instead of exploring all options to get a deal done as soon as possible, the league seems unwilling to bargain unless its most recent proposal is the foundation of a deal, and that's a real shame.
With a large batch of regular-season games likely to be canceled for good this week due to the lack of a new agreement, each side has plenty of incentive to get back to the bargaining table.
At this stage of the process, the two sides don't need reasons to negotiate. The clock is ticking, and every day wasted is getting us one step closer to losing the whole year.
If neither side is ready to offer a new proposal or make a concession to get the negotiations going again, we could see this work stoppage take another turn for the worse:
When asked if the CBA negotiation is about to go into a deep freeze, B. Daly said "I suspect so. Back to the drawing board. Unfortunate."— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 24, 2012
Hopefully, one side stands up and does what's best for the sport of hockey and makes a real effort to end this embarrassing stalemate.
Unfortunately for the players, it's clear that they are the ones who must make the sacrifices needed to get a deal done.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.