Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/30/12 at 09:56 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They were separated by roughly 40 feet Wednesday for most of Gary Bettman’s state of the union address, the NHL commissioner at the podium, addressing a room full of reporters, NHL players association director Donald Fehr at the back of the room, listening carefully.
It remains to be seen if the divide between the two men grows greater in the weeks and months ahead.
Bettman confirmed that at long last, the NHL and the players association have exchanged dates to begin the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. Fehr said not to read too much into that development, however, because it was simply “due course” stuff.
Officially, the CBA expires on Sept. 15 and both Bettman and Fehr circled carefully around the issue of how the process might unfold.
Some believe that the two sides are inevitably on a collision course, seven years after they lost a full season (2004-05) to a lockout.
But Bettman brushed aside that suggestion, on the grounds that the two sides have not had “a substantive discussion” on what they may be looking for in collective bargaining, so to suggest that they are at loggerheads already would be premature.
added 8:48pm, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN with his story on the CBA talks…
“My guess is in the next few weeks we will begin, either in small groups or larger groups, to set the table of what we each might want to be talking about,” Bettman said during his annual state of the union Cup finals news conference.
“I’m sure it’ll be started in the next few weeks,” said Fehr, who watched Bettman’s news conference from the back of the room before scrumming himself with media afterward.
The growing sentiment around the industry is that talk won’t get real serious until September, when the threat of canceling camp or games begins to enter the picture. Eight years ago, during the last round of CBA talks, the summer of 2004 was really a PR exercise with both sides posturing and doling out big-time rhetoric before the fall brought more serious discussions.
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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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