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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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You don't really need this. More often than not, unions and their employers, when they feel that an agreement is within reach, can continue working while bargaining in good faith. They should have at least tried this avenue but the NHL obviously had other intentions.

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Players feeling the heat as NHL lockout drags on: ‘We’re running out of time’

Thanks to a charity game, three NHL players – Kevin Westgarth, Shawn Horcoff and Jamal Mayers – got a chance to get more comfortable on the ice than they were earlier in the week.

They were playing hockey in a Canadian rink Saturday night, two days after being part of the union negotiating team in a New York hotel where labor talks with the league fell apart.

“I’m happy to be in a situation to do it, but I’d rather be on the ice,” said Westgarth, a Los Angeles Kings forward. “That’s where I want to be.”

Westgarth was one of 36 locked-out players in an event at the WFCU Centre – close to Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings – that raised money for charity and gave the idle pros an opportunity to do what they do best.

The game was sloppy and choppy early, understandably so because the lockout has lasted nearly three months, before some sharp passes and one-timers put their talent on display for about 4,500 fans.

“We all want to be playing real games,” said Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary, one of the players who organized the event.

“If we’re not playing, we might as well do something good with our time, try to give back to the fans, to charities.”

Cleary said a similar event is planned for Dec. 19 in Toronto.

With NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman insisting the two sides are still very far apart, there’s a good chance more games will be cancelled soon.

“Trying to set up something for this week, but nothing finalized yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote Sunday in an email to The Associated Press.

The lockout has already wiped out all games through Dec. 14 along with the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium and the All-Star Game on Jan. 27 in Ohio.

Bettman has said the league won’t consider a season that would last fewer than 48 games – the same length it had after the 1994-95 lockout – and that seems to leave about a month to get a deal done.

“We are running out of time,” said Horcoff, an Edmonton Oilers forward. “I hope after a couple days of relaxing, cooler heads prevail and we get back it.”

Mayers said the owners are the ones in control of when talks resume.

“It was the NHL that got up and left and pulled everything from the table,” the Chicago Blackhawks forward said. “Certainly there will come a time in the next few days or the next week, they’ll start to talk again. My hope is that the owners realize that we really are that close.”

The two sides are apart on at least two key issues.

The NHL wants to limit player contracts to five years, seven if the player re-signs with a team, without a huge difference in what a player makes from year to year.

The union countered with an offer to make the maximum length of a deal for any player eight years.

Mayers tried to explain why the league’s offer didn’t work for the union.

“What would happen is, guys like Sidney Crosby would end up taking 20% of whatever the cap would be – for the entire term for five or seven years – and there would be a couple other guys on the team that would do that, then it would completely crush the middle- and lower-tier players,” Mayers said.

“There would be no middle guy because there would be no money left. If Sid is making $12 [million] and [Evgeni] Malkin is making that and then you have [Kris] Letang and [Marc-Andre] Fleury coming up, how would they fit everybody in?”

Another major obstacle to a deal is agreeing on how long the next collective bargaining agreement should last.

The NHL wants the new CBA to last for 10 years, with a mutual opt-out option after eight years. The union countered with an offer to make it an eight-year deal with an out after six years.

“I don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that there’s a deal there to be made,” Mayers said. “It’s not a huge discrepancy.”

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I haven't shared too many pro-owner articles, so I thought I'd share this article about how the Sabres used their extra free time due to the lockout as a chance to work on team building and strengthening their employees' knowledge of the entire operation.

Here's a snippet:

Season or no season, Ruff and the rest of the team's 100-or-so employees went back to school last month to attend what was called ''Sabres University.'' It featured a series of courses spread over two weeks to help everyone better appreciate how the entire operation works, and to boost morale during the ongoing NHL lockout.

The courses ranged from ''The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media,'' to ''The Scouting Process,'' headed by general manager Darcy Regier. There was a seminar from the ice-making crew in detailing techniques required to create a smooth sheet of game-ready ice. And even Kim Pegula got involved by outlining the team's mission under her and husband Terry Pegula's ownership.

As for Ruff, he taught a class explaining how he gets his defenseman involved in the offensive rush.

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I said last week when the player/owner meetings broke down that the December games would be canceled at the beginning of the week and that a 'drop dead' date would be issued befor x-mass. The player/owner meetings main purpose was to send a message directly to the players that ownership had a bottom line. The players will have to come back to the table with a position far closer to ownership's.

Poetica has made many thoughful comments throughout. When the new CBA is signed (I would not be surprised if it is next fall) a renewed debate can be conducted as to whether the PA gained anything from this dispute. While I believe she views the dispute as a labour vs management I tend to view it as two rich kids fighting over a icecream cone. As they fight the icecream melts! When your opponent is 50 pounds heavier you have to think how you can talk him out of the icecream rather than fighting him for it.

I would rather the Paul Kelly approach had been given a fair try. Collegial rather than confrontational. When it makes financial sense for two parties to co-operate it should happen. This is especially true of the NHL where a bonafide opportunity exists to increase revenue significantly. USA economy aside. The mistakes made in 2004 have to be corrected and however the new terms are designed the teams kept competitive. Canadian fans should not be quick to write off CBA limits as the day might return when Canadian clubs are not competitive. Everyone hates Bettman but fans should remember that he kept the Oilers, Flamers and Sens in Canada. Maybe even the Canucks.

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Games cancelled through the 30th now... so much for that mythical Christmas start date. Next round of cuts will probably be the season. Time to put your grudge aside Bettman, you will ultimately have to speak to Fehr again.

bettmansucks-meme-generator-if-you-see-this-man-please-kick-him-right-in-the-nuts-247336.jpg?1346664660.jpg

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I couldn't agree with you more that that's what should have happened. Unfortunately, as they continue to prove, the NHL does not always do what is smart, which is why I suggested they force themselves to pretend to have common sense by including something like the "Icy Cliff" clause in the next CBA.

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There was no way the NHL was going to let Fehr do what he did in baseball, which was to play most of the season and strike come playoff time and let the players get their money and hold the owners hostage come playoff time.

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So sick of this merry go round.

lucy-football.jpg

Watching Bettman in the role of Lucy. Every time things seem to get close to be wrapping up he pulls the ball away and marches further up the field. I am seriously thinking that Bettman and his handful of hardball owners had already decided in the Summer that they were going to sacrifice the season, but continually tease the players that they are willing to negotiate by carefully managing the peaks and valleys of perceived progress. That they have a Republican PR firm working with them speaks volumes. No they have decided to keep bringing players (and fans) to the brink of a hope of a deal, squeezing more concessions from the players, and then once they have that, they back out of the room and snicker together with cigars and cocktails in their country clubs. This will go on all year, all the while giving lip service to the idea that they actually want to salvage a part of the season. This way they figure they will get every little bread crumb possible from the union....screw the sport, or the fans.

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The best news as of late was that Daly and Bettman "will die on a hill" for the contracting rights. It's not like they said they are "willing" to die on a hill. I expect they will certainly perish on that hill (they even said so). I can't see the players considering less than 8 year term limit. Perhaps a 7 year term limit if the NHL lowers UFA age by a year in exchange.

I don't get why this is so important to the owners. Calgary has no problem with restraint. Iginla and Boumeaster are on 5 year deals. Iggy signed again after the last deal was up. ANA, FLA, PHX, WPG, also without any contracts of great length. Many teams are exercising the right to sign players coming off ELC right through to UFA (5 years on second contract). Anyone understand the implications of why this is so important? (Meaning, why the players last offer of 8 years and 25% is rejected outright)

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There was no way the NHL was going to let Fehr do what he did in baseball, which was to play most of the season and strike come playoff time and let the players get their money and hold the owners hostage come playoff time.

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The best news as of late was that Daly and Bettman "will die on a hill" for the contracting rights. It's not like they said they are "willing" to die on a hill. I expect they will certainly perish on that hill (they even said so). I can't see the players considering less than 8 year term limit. Perhaps a 7 year term limit if the NHL lowers UFA age by a year in exchange.

I don't get why this is so important to the owners. Calgary has no problem with restraint. Iginla and Boumeaster are on 5 year deals. Iggy signed again after the last deal was up. ANA, FLA, PHX, WPG, also without any contracts of great length. Many teams are exercising the right to sign players coming off ELC right through to UFA (5 years on second contract). Anyone understand the implications of why this is so important? (Meaning, why the players last offer of 8 years and 25% is rejected outright)

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I think this is important to them for a few reasons.1 - By limiting the contracts to 5 years, it pretty much eliminates the possibility further of a back-diving contract. Yes, this issue is addressed with the 5% rule, but it is addressed further with the max 5 year rule. 2 - It allows teams to pay a player a salary that more closely resembles their current skill level. For instance, if they had no limit, they could sign a Kesler type player for 15 years at the rate of pay commensurate of a 25 year old, and pay him that well into his late 30's. It keeps the caphit low, but compensates him for lower than average salary now by paying him ridiculous salary at 39. This would be a cap circumvention, in essence.3 - It gets high-salaried duds out of the league faster. Simply put, would Scott Gomez be playing in the NHL at anywhere near his current salary if he was limited to a 5 year deal? No. It allows teams to force a turnover of personnel, from rich duds to cheap budding stars.

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In other thoughts, I can see a good idea for straight jab:

Bettman and Daly in the snow at the 0.2 km mark of the Grouse Grind. Sweat pouring off both their foreheads. Sign reads "Grouse grind 0.2km mark -> 2.7km to go (pointing up). Daly looking at Bettman "We are going to die on this hill aren't we"

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...

Bottom line, is this about a business making money, how to divvy up the players share among themselves, or competing for the cup? It has to be one of those three, so which category is the anger coming from on the owners side?

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How low can Bettman's boys go?:

Here are the often imitated, never duplicated musings and meditations on the world of sports.

It’s difficult to believe the NHL could sink any lower in this lockout, but last week they might have touched bottom in their dealings with the players.

To refresh your memory, a group of six owners, including hardliners Jeremy Jacobs of Boston and Murray Edwards of Calgary, attempted to push through a deal without the NHLPA’s chief negotiator, Donald Fehr, in the room.

Think about this for a minute. The NHL couldn’t get what it wanted with Fehr in attendance so they tried to remove him from the equation and negotiate with a group of hockey players, most of whom are in their 20s. It was a blatant attempt to bully the PA into a deal without proper counsel. And, when the bargaining session inevitably broke down, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly still had the gall to act as if they’d been double-crossed.

Now if this was an isolated incident, you might write it off to the gamesmanship that is part of collective bargaining.

But it’s not isolated. It is, in fact, part of a pattern in which the NHL has behaved shamefully, in which it’s embarrassed itself and the game it’s supposed to represent. Larry Brooks of The New York Post reported owners were spreading a story that Fehr would receive an $8-million payout if the PA ratified a deal against his recommendations. The story of Fehr’s duplicity was false.

There is the presence of Proskauer Rose, the cloven-hoofed law firm that acted for the NFL and NBA in their lockouts and is following the same game plan for hockey. There’s the hiring of Republican strategist Frank Luntz to help spin the NHL’s message. There is the ongoing campaign to vilify Fehr.

As mentioned, there’s a clear pattern there. If you’ve ever belonged to a union; hell, if you’ve ever worked for someone else, you should be enraged by the NHL’s conduct.

On a related note, Kevin Westgarth of the L.A. Kings says he was surprised that the four owners who were new to the talks last week — Pittsburgh’s Ron Burkle, Winnipeg’s Mark Chipman, Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum and Tampa’s Jeff Vinik — were poorly informed about the state of negotiations.

Now you could dismiss that as more rhetoric. But during a conversation last week, a league source told your agent he finally signed up for Twitter to read what the insiders were reporting.

And this wasn’t a flunky. It was someone who should have known what was going on.

Revealing graphic from CBC Sports which counted the number of games lost since 1972 by the commissioners and union leaders of each sport.

It should come as no surprise that Bettman is the runaway, er, leader at 2,120 lost games and counting. But it’s the number of games he leads by which is staggering.

Think of the labour strife that plagued baseball for three decades. When you add up the games lost by Bud Selig and Bowie Kuhn, it’s still 383 fewer than Bettman.

Fehr, meanwhile, has now lost 1,360 games as the union chief in baseball and hockey. That’s 760 fewer games than Bettman.

http://www.theprovin...r#axzz2EhHand4O

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