As time ticks down toward the league’s Thursday deadline to save a full, 82-game season the NHL and NHLPA are no closer to engaging in actual negotiations. Instead, Tuesday centered on the league’s end-around NHLPA leadership and the growing distrust between the two sides.
Last week, the NHL allowed owners and general managers a two-day window to answer players’ questions about the league’s most recent proposal — without telling the union. The NHLPA was less than thrilled and publicly questioned the league’s motives. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly called it a “non-issue”.
To get caught up on it all, check out the following:
• Yahoo Sports obtained the league’s memo to team executives, detailing what they could or could not discuss with players.
• Yahoo’s Nicholas Cotsonika with a great take on why this move may only worsen the players’ distrust of the league and could unite them further.
Was it necessary? That depends on whether the Fehrs have been giving inaccurate or incomplete information to the players about the league’s proposals, and so that depends on whom you talk to, whom you believe.
Was it effective? Was it worth it? We’ll see. Even if you give the league the benefit of the doubt – that this was just about information, not infiltration – this could be another mistake.
It seemed sneaky. It looked like an attempt to undermine the union. It fed the perception that the league cannot be trusted. If anyone stepped across the line, it could open up the league to charges of unfair labor practices.
Instead of clearing the path to a deal, it might have created yet another obstacle. Bare minimum, it created another sad sideshow.
• Sportsnet’s Michael Grange: NHL labor negotiations aren’t only about the money anymore. “Instead it’s become a debate about trust and fairness and dirty dealings and history.”
• The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle: This move was all part of the negotiating process.
In other lockout news…
• Alex Ovechkin has said multiple times that he would consider staying in Russia if his contract were cut dramatically under the new NHL CBA. Apparently, Ilya Kovalchuk feels the same. From Russia Today:
“Basically, I don’t rule out staying in Russia in the case of a reduction of our salaries in the NHL,” Kovalchuk said. “I just don’t understand why they needed to sign such contracts? Or they were just hoping to cut the percentage later? I believe that the contracts must be respected and this is a fundamental question. There’s no way the head of the [NHL Players’] Association and the hockey players will agree on the wage reduction.”