Despite not being willing to speak publicly about the details of the Collective Bargaining Agreement meetings, NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr sent a message to the players after Thursday’s deliberations with an update.
Whether you believe that this message was released to the media on purpose or if this was genuinely a case of one loose-lipped player, the message in the note was very clear; the 2012-2013 regular season is in trouble.
TSN was the first to uncover the message from the Fehr and the NHLPA to the players and his synopsis on the negotiation process:
In short, the concessions on future salary we have offered (at least $948 Million to $1.25 Billion over five years, depending on HRR growth) are not enough. We are still being told that more salaries must be conceded, and that very valuable player contracting rights must be surrendered. So, while we are meeting again, and while some steps are being taken, there is still a lot of work to be done and bridges to be crossed before an agreement can be made.
From Day 1 of the negotiating process, it was blatantly clear that both sides were posturing for an extended battle. Neither side was willing to concede any of its demands, so any hope of a speedy resolution was immediately counted out.
Now as both sides continue to wage a public relations war on each other, the CBA is once again pushed to the back burner because the compromises that must be made are being ignored.
Any hope for even a partial season just took another heavy blow.
While many fans will read this comment from Fehr and side with the players, the NHLPA is just as responsible for this lockout as the owners. Both sides must make substantial compromises in the negotiating process, but each has yet to prove it is truly ready to get down to business.
Right now, it looks like the only way negotiations will get serious is if the league loses yet another season. With two lockouts in eight years, the NHL and NHLPA are doing unfathomable damage to the league and its reputation.
The diehard fans that are expected to flock back like sheep when the NHL returns to action are starting to see how poorly they are being treated, and they don’t like it one bit.
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