Talks between the NHL and NHLPA stalled earlier this week and with no imminent signs of progress, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested a two-week moratorium on negotiations according to multiple reports.
It’s the latest cause for pessimism as the NHL lockout hit its 62nd day on Friday. The league has already canceled 327 regular season games — or about a quarter of the 2012-13 season — including the marquee Winter Classic. Another round of cancellations could come as early as next week.
From TSN, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:
“We are extremely disappointed in where we and the players find ourselves,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday evening. “And from our perspective, we have made repeated moves in the players’ direction with absolutely no reciprocation. Unfortunately, we have determined we are involved with union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement. Regardless of what we propose, or how we suggest to compromise the answer is ‘no.’ At some point you just have to say ‘enough is enough’….
“I find it incredible that the union is suggesting that we are somehow ‘close’ to a deal,” added Daly. “They have utterly refused to negotiate for months. They have made essentially one proposal – five times. They continue to request a ‘guaranteed’ players share as part of the next agreement and we repeatedly tell them maybe they should get a reality check. And in the mean time, maybe they can make their position clear to us on 50-50, on the make-whole and on player contracting issues.”
In a statement NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr reiterated that the union is ready and willing to meet, despite Bettman’s suggestion that the two sides take a break.
“Of course everyone on the players’ side wants to reach an agreement,” he said. “The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars. What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t.
“So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?”