Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/16/12 at 03:42 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
... So now, as the NHL makes incrementally improving offers from the July starting point, it is coming up against a wall of doubt and suspicion. Mostly, the players have decided just to trust Fehr for guidance on when they might make their best possible deal, without sacrificing a full season. When will that moment come? Will it ever come? Will the league dig in? Will the players association always ask for one more concession, until they get to the same point they did back in February of 2005, when they ran out of time to save any sort of a meaningful season?
The answer, right now, is nobody knows for sure. Most think it could go either way, with the wild card being Fehr. Negotiators on the NHL side have consulted with their counterparts in major league baseball and the intelligence they have gathered from them has them worried. The league doesn’t plan a meek surrender, but they’re not sure how far they can push the NHLPA, which was dug in on revenue-sharing, and then the ‘make-whole’ provision and now on contracting rights.
In short, this is unknown territory, with all new players on the NHLPA side. Generally, in every sort of negotiation such as this, there is some ebb and flow. Momentum builds and then stalls. Optimism ran high about two weeks ago and now pessimism reigns supreme.
About the only thing I’m prepared to venture is that the drop-dead date to play games in 2012-13 is still two months or more away. That means there will be at least two more opportunities for the sides to get closer and see if they can’t finally bridge that gap. You’d think there would be urgency now, but you’d be wrong. With lawyers and accountants in charge, the real urgency doesn’t start until the clock is five minutes from midnight and the end is in sight.
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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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