Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/12/12 at 09:45 AM ET
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The question is whether Fehr has pushed too far.
Last Thursday in New York, two days after the sides agreed on having one of the most constructive bargaining sessions yet, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stamped out any hints of optimism. Bettman pulled everything off the table, including $300 million in the make whole provision. The sides haven’t met since, although they’re scheduled to huddle Wednesday. Even Fehr acknowledged the lockout would not be resolved in the immediate future.
Part of Fehr’s latest task is to determine whether Bettman was bluffing. To this stage, Fehr has convinced his union that every move by the NHL has been a feint. But with games canceled through Dec. 30 and a season-scrubbing decision required within the next 3-4 weeks, Fehr might have pushed the owners as far as they’re willing to go.
The NHL, according to Bettman, is standing firm on three principles: a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, a five-year cap on a player’s contract, and refusal on both compliance buyouts and escrow caps as the league transitions from one CBA to the next.
In their last proposal, the players had countered with an eight-year CBA with an opt-out after six seasons, along with an eight-year cap on player contracts.
It will be Fehr’s job to determine whether there’s wiggle room between the proposals or if the NHL will not budge off its the-hill-we-will-die-on stance.
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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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