The NHL lockout continues and if the news coming out of Sunday’s meeting is true, the lockout will not be coming to an end any time soon.
The NHL and NHLPA met often last week. The number of discussions the two sides had and the amount of time they put in during those discussions had many, this writer included, hoping that a resolution was near.
Those hopes took a nosedive when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN on Sunday, “I just don't, right now, given their opposition to addressing some of these issues, know where we go.”
NHLPA head Donald Fehr didn’t sound any more confident than Daly when he offered his take on where the two sides stood on Sunday:
The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals. That unless players are prepared to take -- and this is my phrase, not theirs -- down to the comma, that there's nothing to do.
The NHL seems to feel that the movement that it made on the “make whole” provision is significant enough that it can afford to stand strong on its other proposals.
Those other proposals, as laid out in the NHL’s October 18th offer, are five-year contract limits, front-loading of contracts, two-year limits on rookie contracts, free agency after eight years of NHL service or when a player hits 28 years old and arbitration eligibility after five years of NHL service.
There had been speculation that the make-or-break issue in getting a deal done was the make whole provision. With the make whole proposal on the table and no signed deal forthcoming, one has to wonder exactly what’s happening on the NHLPA’s side of things and what the future holds.
Both the players and owners are losing money right now, but the players are going to be the ones feeling it in the pocket much more than the owners. While some players may agree to stand strong with Fehr, others may begin to question why, with the make whole provision out there, they are not back to playing.
I’m not a betting man, but I would say that if a split is going to take place in the ranks of the NHLPA, it’s going to come soon and it’s going to focus on why Donald Fehr hasn’t presented the offer to the players for a vote.
Things were interesting last week and it looks like they will get even more interesting over the next few days, as fans and pundits pontificate as to what’s next in the crazy world of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.