The NHL and NHLPA havent gotten much accomplished in recent weeks, and on Friday another months worth of games were wiped off the schedule. And as NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr took in the Champs for Charity game at Allstate Arena on Friday night, he said the latest cancellations were a shame.
Hopefully we finally get down to serious negotiations one of these days, said Fehr. Somebody has to be willing to talk about things seriously. And so far the leagues position is, essentially, we got billions of dollars from the players last time, weve had nothing but record revenues ever since, so lets try to get another billion or two. And thats really hard to do.
The NHL canceled games through Nov. 30 on Friday afternoon, which wiped out 15 more games on the Chicago Blackhawks schedule. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly issued a statement on the cancellations:
The National Hockey League deeply regrets having to take this action. By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur.
We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs -- one that will be good for the game and our fans.
Fehr met with a group of players earlier Friday here in Chicago to talk about the recent negotiations, and what could happen next. He didnt want to divulge much of the conversation with players.
What I do get asked, repeatedly (from players), is, What is there in the NHLs offer that moves in our direction? My problem is, all I can do is shrug my shoulders. Because I dont know what it is.
There are no planned negotiation talks between the NHL and NHLPA coming up. Fehr said he and the league, however, do talk regularly. When the two get back to formal CBA discussions remains to be seen. And as far as this season becoming another 2004-05, Fehr doesnt want to think about it.
I hope thats premature discussion, he said. As a personal matter, I dont see any reason for it.