Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,
Another day, another series of talks for the NHL and NHLPA. It’s Day 110, to be precise, and while there have been some positive developments this week, there is still no certainty that an agreement is imminent or even assured in time to preserve a 48-game season. The supposed deadline for that is Jan. 11, with the schedule beginning on Jan. 19. Neither the deadline nor the puck drop can be guaranteed.
That’s because some outstanding issues — like the salary cap, pensions, and contract limits — remain and the sides are not close to agreeing on how to resolve them. There are new suspicions on both sides as well that have kept the anxiety level high. Both Gary Bettman and Don Fehr said after Wednesday’s marathon talks, which extended into early Thursday, that some progress had been made, but there were still some hard miles to travel.
Mistrust has to be bubbling: The owners apparently attempted to slip into the deal a provision that removed harsh financial penalties on clubs that improperly reported (i.e., hid) Hockey Related Revenue. The ploy was detected by the players union, and during talks early on Thursday the penalties were re-instituted. If you need any more of an explanation about why this wholly wasteful and damaging lockout fiasco has dragged on and on and on and on, this one little episode tells all you need to know.
Per numerous reports, the two sides, in a smaller mode tonight, are meeting at the NHL office to discuss pensions.
Don't hold on to the edge of your seat waiting for breaking news on this topic.
If anything noteworthy happens tonight, I will update, if not, get some rest and enjoy the evening.
Hockey will soon be back or gone until at least October, judgment day is next week sometime.
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss the latest CBA talk...
LEBRUN: On the buyouts, I think the NHL decided it was willing to go to two instead of one per team as a way to help sell its case that the Year 2 cap can stay at $60 million. Having teams able to buy out two players instead of one player next summer, neither counting against the cap, will further help those teams that need to squeeze the payroll under the $60-million limit. But whether this issue and all the other remaining issues get resolved over the next 24-48 hours is impossible to predict. I do sense some aggravation from the players I spoke with Thursday. One player told me this thing is in a fragile state, despite the fact the two sides have gotten so close. It would not surprise me at all if we have one last blow-up and we have to come back here next week ahead of the Jan. 11 deadline for the final push in talks. But I sure hope not. Enough is enough. Get it done today.
“I’m a little leery. The league “knew that deadline [to disclaim interest] was coming, so maybe they were bargaining in good faith up until that moment and maybe they’re going to shut it down today. I don’t dislike anybody, but I don’t trust Gary Bettman right now and what his motive is. He’s a nice man, I’ve met him numerous times, but I don’t trust what’s happened so far.
“If they’re working that late, last night was great and if they keep meeting [Thursday] it’s positive. I just don’t believe anything anymore until it’s done.”
-Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals. More from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
Remember the salary floor, the lower limit on what teams can spend on player salaries?
It’s gotten scant attention over the past 110 days, but it could end up being the determining factor before a deal gets made.
There are two competing groups of owners howling in Bettman’s ear at the moment. On one side are those that actually make money or otherwise feel the need to get the season up and running -- the big-market Canadian teams and the major U.S. clubs such as the Rangers, Flyers and Blackhawks, as well as Pittsburgh and perhaps Minnesota.
They are joined in the ‘just get a deal done already’ chorus by sponsors and broadcast rights holders.
On the other are the floundering U.S. owners -- Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, Tampa Bay and the like.
They see this next CBA as being key to their ability to survive, if not thrive -- and they have the ear of a commissioner who feels he’s given too much to the players’ already.
Labour talks between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association are set to resume on Thursday in New York with several key issues still requiring negotiation.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the second year salary cap is still a pressing topic as the players are looking for $65 million, while the NHL remains committed to a $60 million cap.
Additional issues such as terms on contracts and pension remain the most significant "open" issues, according to Dreger. Pension experts are joining the talks to deal with the issues.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reports that the NHLPA is spending Thursday morning updating its full membership.
LeBrun also says that the NHL has upped its compliance buyout offer to two players per team, up from one prior to the 2013-14 season.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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