NHL Lockout 2012: Latest Buzz About Work Stoppage

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2012

The NHL lockout is official as a CBA agreement couldn't be reached prior to the deadline.

Let's take a look at some of the latest information about the status of negotiations and what might be in store for the NHL and its fans in the coming weeks and months.

UPDATE: Thursday, October 18 at 4 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

Well, if you were hoping for some positive news, you aren't going to get it here. The NHLPA did make three counter-proposals today, but they weren't to the leagues liking. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and TSN's Darren Dreger have a few updates that should make your afternoon less pleasant:

Bettman confirms NHLPA made three counter proposals. Says none of them "even began to approach 50-50." Not encouraged

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012

Bettman calls todays meeting and 3 PA proposals a "step backwards.".

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 18, 2012

"I am to say the least totally disappointed." - Bettman

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 18, 2012

It should be noted that a 50/50 split would represent a huge loss to the players in revenue from the current agreement, and it was always unlikely the players were going to sign off on the owner's proposal. The hope was that the counter-offer would be in enough to keep the two sides talking.

That seems to be in jeopardy now. It was a savvy move by the owners—make an offer they knew was unlikely to be accepted and allow the players to suddenly look like the group preventing hockey from being played this year. 

Hopefully, the two sides can continue to compromise on points and this won't cost the league a season. But today's developments have certainly put a damper on any positivity surrounding these negotiations, at least for the time being.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, October 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

For what it's worth, former player Mathieu Dandenault believes we may be seeing hockey rather soon:

The NHLPA will offer a menu of 4 proposals tothe NHL this afternoon. All with 50\50 split of revenues.. I think hockey coming back soon.

— mathieu dandenault (@mdandenault25) October 18, 2012

This jives with previous reports that the NHLPA would offer a counter-proposal on Thursday (via John Buccigross of ESPN):

NHL Players' Association confirmed it will make a new offer during negotiations going on now #rockoutwithyournhlockout

— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) October 18, 2012

I'm not sure how accurate the menu of four proposals or another offer of a 50/50 split is, but it seems as though there is optimism something will get done. Expect another week or so of negotiating, but it looks like we have a light at the end of the tunnel here.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, October 17 at 9:56 p.m. ET

In a bold move, the NHL has made it's entire 82-game proposal public. For all of the details, check out NHL.com. The proposal is for six years, with a mutual option for a seventh. 

TSN's Bob McKenzie went on to report that the NHLPA did not react positively to the new CBA proposal. 

The first official NHLPA reaction to the NHL offer is in -- NHLPA executive director Don Fehr sent a letter to all players and agents last night -- and not unexpectedly the league's proposal wasn't met with great enthusiasm.
In the letter, which breaks down a summary of the NHL offer, Fehr writes the following:
'Simply put, the owners' new proposal, while not quite as Draconian as their previous proposals, still represents enormous reductions in player salaries and individual contracting rights. As you will see, at the 5 per cent industry growth rate the owners predict, the salary reduction over six years exceeds $1.6 billion. What do the owners offer in return?'


UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 6:05 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, we have an official deadline for the new CBA proposal:

Now we have a deadline. If deal is reached, training camp would open Oct. 26. New CBA needs to done by Oct. 25 to save 82-game season.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 16, 2012

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 1:54 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

For those looking for a timetable in these negotiations, commissioner Gary Bettman has seemingly delivered one. According to RDS' Ren Lavoie, Bettman says this deal as currently constituted has about nine or 10 days to get finished.

Gary Bettman: "we have about nine or ten days to get this all put to bed, signed, sealed and delivered for this offer to be effective."

— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) October 16, 2012

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 1:42 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Reporting on the NHL's newest offer to the players, John Shannon has a cavalcade of information on the major issues separating the two sides.

While the league has moved up in its offer to a 50-50 split, commissioner Gary Bettman has refused to budge on one key component: contract lengths. According to Shannon, new contracts will still have a five-year maximum limit.

Contract Lengths would be 5 years.

— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) October 16, 2012

Nonetheless, the rest of the offer stands as a major step forward, as revenue sharing would be near the $200 million mark and other major points have been amended. 

The only core issue that remains intact from previous NHL offers is the length on contracts (on all new deals).

— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) October 16, 2012

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 1:15 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Speaking on the new league's new offer, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said that the players' association may get back in touch with the owners Tuesday or Wednesday with its thoughts, according to the Toronto Star's Kevin McGran

Fehr; happy to receive offer. will review. back in touch with nhl maybe today or tomorrow

— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) October 16, 2012

Fehr also gave a little insight into the length of the offer, saying that it's for at least six years, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

Fehr says league offer "at least six years."

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) October 16, 2012

Even though the NHLPA is yet to give its reaction, this at least feels like some huge progress was made in this stalemate.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16 at 12:44 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Hockey fans still holding out hope for a full 2012-13 NHL season may actually get their wish. According to The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, commissioner Gary Bettman said that 82 games is possible if the league starts on Nov. 2. 

Bettman says if season starts Nov 2nd, 82 games will remain. Offer is contingent on an 82 game season.

— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 16, 2012

What's more, Bettman also said that the owners offered the NHLPA a 50-50 split of revenue in their latest collective bargaining proposal, according to Pagnotta.

Offer is a 50/50 share of HRR, says Bettman

— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 16, 2012

In a situation that was looking bleaker by the minute, some hope may have sprung from Tuesday's negotiations. 

---End of Update--

UPDATE: Wednesday, October 10 at 5:14 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

The Alberta Labour Relations Board did not agree with the NHLPA that the lockout is illegal.

They made public their decision here, and for those of you who aren't into reading legal jargon, while you are missing out on a good time, you can still get the important point of the document with this tweet from Rogers Sportsnet's Michael Grange:

Alberta Labour Relations Board dismisses #NHLPA claim that #NHL lockout in unlawful "in it's entirety"

— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) October 10, 2012

So there will be no court assistance from Alberta getting the NHL back on the ice. 

UPDATE: Tuesday, October 2, 2:10 p.m. ET by Donald Wood

After another meeting Tuesday between the NHL and NHLPA, it appears no progress has been made and no resolution to the CBA drama is in sight.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN New York’s Katie Strang about the possible inclusion of a federal mediator and how he felt about the proceedings during Tuesday’s meetings:

A mediator can only be helpful if both sides are willing to embrace it and compromise. We certainly haven't ruled out that possibility…Today was not overly encouraging.

Fans of the league are just trying to find any glimmer of hope in this lockout situation, but there just doesn’t seem to be any. This has all the makings of going down a long road of labor impasse.

As much as the NHL wants fans to believe this situation will be handled in a timely fashion, odds are there will be substantial regular-season time missed.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. ET by Tim Daniels

Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reports the NHL will likely start eliminating regular-season games at some point this week. The process will continue every two weeks for as long as no CBA agreement is reached.

NHL teams preparing for regular-season cancellations this week. Expectations games will be erased in two-week "blocks."

— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 1, 2012

Progress has been basically non-existent ever since the lockout began as both sides have remain firm on all of the important issues on the table. It appears hockey fans should prepare for another lengthy lockout barring a major change soon.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, September 28 at 1:40 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

After weeks and weeks of bad news for hockey fans across the continent, there is the first sign that perhaps things are looking up, according to a report from ESPN. According to the report, after two weeks of inactivity, the league and its players are finally going to resume talks today.

What's being discussed? According to the report:

The league and the union are to discuss secondary issues and not the core of the dispute -- how to split more than $3 billion in annual revenue. 

In other words, don't hold your breath quite yet. While this is certainly progress in the right direction, the fact remains that until the owners and players can come to a consensus on how to split the revenue (or even begin to talk about it), there's not going to be any hockey. Given that all of the preseason has now been cancelled, it's probably a good idea to brace for an extended chunk of the season to vanish as these talks drag on.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, September 27 at 3:10 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

The first domino has fallen in the NHL lockout—the league will cancel the remainder of the preseason games. The NHL released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:

The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the remainder of the 2012 preseason schedule.

The cancellation of the preseason schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL.

It looks like it's only a matter of time before actual games are canceled. While this news hardly comes as a surprise, it's still disappointing.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, September 25, 1:40 p.m. ET by Donald Wood

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to resume negotiations Friday, Sept. 28 at a yet unspecified location to discuss “non-core economic issues” with the collective bargain agreement, according to TSN.ca.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was the first to break the news and talks about how the fans’ optimism should be guarded:

NHL-NHLPA expected to resume CBA talks on Friday.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 25, 2012

Meeting is better than not meeting, but I still don't like the look of how any of this is playing out.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 25, 2012

While the news of a meeting is great, the fact that they aren’t even talking about the main issues separating the two sides in CBA discussions is disheartening; this appears to be more posturing instead of legitimate progress.

Once again, it looks like the fans are the only ones eager to get this deal done before any regular-season games are lost.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, September 19 at 4:53 p.m. EST by Tyler Conway

The NHL announced Wednesday that the preaseason schedule has been canceled through Sept. 30 due to the lockout, according to a release on the league's website.

Via NHL.com:

The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the 2012 preseason schedule through Sept. 30. In addition, the 2012 Kraft Hockeyville preseason game, scheduled for Oct. 3 in Belleville, Ontario, has been postponed to 2013. 

For a situation already with ominous signs, this cancellation will be nothing but a disappointment to hockey fans everywhere.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Monday, September 17 at 10:45 a.m. EST

The NHL players have released a video to the public in wake of the lockout:

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 10:15 a.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

With the lockout now in effect, the NHL sent a message to the fans on Sunday morning:

Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.

It went on to add:

This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.

For the full message, be sure to check it out at NHL.com

Of course, the league in its message to the fans failed to note that the players would have been willing to play this season under the terms of the old CBA while a new agreement could be worked out. In other words, the puck could have dropped on time if that's what the owners were truly interested in doing.

Expect a lengthy holdout once again, and perhaps another lost season. It doesn't seem likely that either side is going to budge on their demands anytime soon.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 12:13 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

The Collective Bargaining Agreement has expired, and the NHL's second lockout in eight years is officially underway.

TSN had the report:

NHL lockout officially in effect as CBA expires: Go to TSN.ca for details. #TSN bit.ly/Pvdo7K

— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 16, 2012

There's no telling if, or when, this will be resolved. Neither side wants to compromise, and that's not going to result in hockey anytime soon.

Stay tuned for more updates.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6:06 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

A lockout in the NHL is less than five hours away. According to ESPN.com, the NHL says "there will be no bargaining with the players' union Saturday, leaving nothing to stop a lockout."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had this to say in the report:

"We talked with the union this morning and in light of the fact that they have nothing new to offer, or any substantive response to our last proposal, there would be nothing gained by convening a bargaining session at this time. I'm sure we will keep in touch in the coming days and schedule meetings to the extent they might be useful or appropriate. We are sorry for where we are. Not what we hoped or expected."

This is upsetting news for all sides involved. Hopefully, an agreement can be reached before too much time passes.

Stay tuned for more up-to-date information.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9:12 a.m. ET by Alex Ballentine

A request for an immediate injunction against the lockout by the players was officially denied by Quebec Labor Relations Board on Friday according to ESPN.

The @nhlpa is denied an immediate injunction in Quebec.@nhl Lockout coming at 11:59 pm.es.pn/PtgDN7

— Warren K. Zola (@WarrenKZola) September 15, 2012

The injunction request was the last obstacle standing in the way of the lockout officially getting underway but with the denial of the request the lockout is all but official. With the two sides still far apart in negotiations, it appears it could be a while before any type of resolution is found.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 14 at 8:35 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Despite an attempt by the NHLPA to get the lockout blocked in the Canadian province of Quebec, the request was denied Friday by Quebec Labor Relations board, according to Brenda Branswell of the Montreal Gazette.

Que's labour relations bd rejects NHLPA's request for interim order to block lockout. But convenes 2 sides for hearing on merits of quest..

— Brenda Branswell (@bbranswell) September 14, 2012

Though the decision is not final and a full decision will be made in the coming weeks (via RDS’ Renaud P Lavoie), it is yet another blow for the players association's fight to end this lockout.

Unfortunately, this situation looks like it won't be resolved anytime soon. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 5:55 p.m. ET

In Thursday's meeting, the NHL's Board of Governors unanimously agreed with Gary Bettman's decision to send the league into lockout mode if an agreement with the players on the collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, according to Kevin Allen of USA Today.

Allen wrote:

Bettman didn't need governors' approval for the lockout, but he asked for a show of hands at the end of Thursday's meeting.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

Ladies and gentlemen, there is now a lockout firmly on the horizon. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times has the update:

The lockout will commence at 11:59 pm on Saturday “unless we have a deal” Gary Bettman says. #NHL #NHLPA

— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 13, 2012

Meanwhile, Donald Fehr has maintained that the players would be willing to play another season under the current system while the two sides negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement. And it seems unlikely that the players will readily make more concessions after making so many after the 2004-05 lockout.

Players accepted a 24% rollback in salaries and a hard cap in the agreement that followed the season-canceling 2004-05 lockout. Since that deal, revenues have grown from $2 billion to $3.3 billion.

"The proposals we have seem to suggest that the owners' view is that having gotten of all of these concessions and having raised all of this additional revenue, the appropriate thing to do is to see what else they can get," Fehr said.

He went on to add the following:

"Less money, fewer rights," Fehr said. "I think everyone understands why the owners would like that. I think every employer would like that. I have a more difficult time understanding why anyone would expect the players to make an agreement on that basis."

The line in the sand here is the percentage of the league's earnings that go to either side of this dispute. Currently, the players earn 57 percent of revenues. The owners want to lower that number. The players aren't interested.

And until the sides can meet somewhere in the middle, the stare down will continue. It's hard to imagine anything less than a shortened or lost season at this point.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 2:35 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

If you side with the players on the labor dispute between the NHLPA and NHL owners but weren't a huge fan of Zach Parise before now, well, this tweet from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun might make you like Parise a bit more:

"He loves his lockouts." Zach Parise on Bettman. #NHLPA

— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) September 13, 2012

NHL fans should be good and sick of lockouts at this point. While it takes two to tango in any dispute, Gary Bettman has certainly never shied away from a work stoppage to get what he wants.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 1:35 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

It would appear that the players are digging in and bracing themselves for a lockout rather than preparing to accept the NHL owners' most recent proposal. From Michael Grange of Sportsnet:

Fehr -- There has been no progress ... If it comes to a lockout it's a choice, we don't have artificial deadlines #NHLPA #NHL

— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) September 13, 2012

Fehr and the NHLPA are wise to publicly decry the lockout and put that responsibility on the owners. And if they are serious about not giving a penny back of the wages they expect to earn, then they better dig in now and be prepared to drag this out.

It would seem that is exactly what they are doing.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 3:20 p.m. ET by Alex Kay

The league's latest offer to the players has quite a few more dollars attached than the previous.

According to Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman offered the NHLPA $250 to $300 million more than the last standing offer. 

Bettman says players will get $250M to $300M more than in previous proposal. #NHLPA #NHL

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) September 12, 2012

This is quite a significant chunk of change, and may have the players talking about agreeing to a new CBA before the Sept. 15 deadline

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 3:05 p.m. ET by Alex Kay

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has some interesting light to shed on the counter-proposal that the NHL made to the players today.

Bettman says they told NHLPA some elements offered today in league counter-proposal will be off the table come expiry of CBA Sat night.

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 12, 2012

If these ready-to-expire concessions are crucial to a new CBA, the players would be wise to try and figure out a way to get a deal hammered out before Sept. 15. 

The last thing this league and it's players need is another crippling lockout that lasts months or even an entire season.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2:50 p.m. ET by Alex Kay

The NHL and NHLPA have had yet another meeting today, and some proposals were reportedly brought to the table; although it's too soon to tell if any progress has actually been made towards ending this lockout before it starts.

According to Nick Cotsonika of  Yahoo! Sports, the players opened with their offer and were given a counter from the league.

Fehr said players made new proposal. League made responsive proposal. Needs to be studied. Too early to call it progress.

— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) September 12, 2012

These proposals will give the two sides plenty to talk about amongst themselves and should hopefully bring us closer towards an agreement before the Sept. 15 deadline. 

---End of Update---

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 6:47 p.m. ET

The NHL and NHLPA will meet on Wednesday morning, according to Kevin Allen of USA Today.

Allen tweeted on Tuesday:

The NHL and NHLPA will meet in the morning in New York.

— Kevin Allen (@kausatoday) September 11, 2012

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Tuesday, September 11 at 1:15 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

An NHL lockout is all but certain at this point, and the NHL Players Associate is exploring options in Canada to circumvent the work stoppage. 

ESPNNewYork.com's Katie Strang reported via Twitter that the negotiations have not moved forward today.

#CBA No planned talks as of yet for today between NHL, NHLPA.

— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) September 11, 2012

Strang also reported via ESPNNewYork.com that the NHLPA is taking advantage of different labor laws in Canada that do not recognize it as a union. She notes that legal action has been taken in both Quebec and Alberta.

If the union is successful, the players for the teams in these provinces (Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens) "would be able to draw paychecks, as well as practice and train as usual in preparation for the upcoming season."

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly commented on the NHLPA's strategy in Canada and was quoted by the Associated Press via WJLA.com saying, "This is a joke."

The two sides are not close to an agreement, and it seems impossible that any movement occurs before the CBA expires on Saturday.

----End of Update----

UPDATE: Friday, August 31 at 4:15 p.m. ET by Alex Hall

Talks between the NHL and NHLPA have broken off and there have been mixed reports as to which of the two sides were responsible for the recess. TSN's Darren Dreger reported via his Twitter account that the NHL were the ones who broke off communication, tweeting:

NHL saw little or no movement from the players in todays round of discussions and therefore opts to recess CBA discussions.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 31, 2012

Conflicting with Dreger's report is word from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who tweeted a quote from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

Bettman says owners did not elect to recess, calls that 'unfair characterization' #nhl #nhlpa

— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) August 31, 2012

No official word from either side has been made regarding this controversy, but one thing concrete here is that neither of the two are speaking with one another at this time.

----End of Update----

UPDATE: Thursday, August 30 at 7:55 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

While the lockout is still rapidly approaching, talks between the NHL and the NHLPA are moving along.

ESPN New York's Katie Strang reported that deputy commissioner Bill Daly remains positive over the NHLPA's response to the league's recent offer. Strang quotes Daly saying:

We're hopeful that it's a meaningful proposal that we can continue to make progress from. We feel like we made a good step in that direction earlier this week and we hope that they would take a step forward as well.