NHL, union talking but not negotiating
While the NHL and the players’ association are keeping the lines of communication open, they don’t seem to be moving any closer to getting back to the bargaining table.
For the second straight day, representatives on both sides of the lockout had telephone conversations Sunday. None of those talks have yet led to concrete negotiations that could lead to an elusive collective bargaining agreement and get the delayed hockey season going.
”We had a conference call today to answer some of their questions,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email Sunday. ”No bargaining. And no bargaining meetings scheduled.”
Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr also had discussions on Saturday. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Donald Fehr didn’t take part in Sunday’s conference call, Daly said.
The lockout entered its 36th day Sunday.
Both sides said they made proposals this week that could provide the basis for an agreement.
”There are multiple frameworks for a deal on the table,” Steve Fehr said Sunday. ”We gave them three good ones on Thursday. Each moves toward a 50-50 split of (hockey-related revenue) that the league wants. Each allows the contracts in place to be honored.
”Unfortunately, after considering these proposals for about 10 minutes the league rejected them and essentially said that they are not moving off their last proposal.”
On Friday, the NHL canceled all games through Nov. 1. The league said in its most recent proposal to the players that a deal must be reached by Thursday in order for the season to start on Nov. 2 and for each team to play a complete 82-game season.
A total of 135 games have been called off and are in danger of being canceled for good if an agreement isn’t reached during the upcoming week.
More games could also be in danger soon, including the annual New Year’s Day Winter Classic that is slated to pit the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs at outdoor Michigan Stadium.
Negotiations broke off quickly Thursday in Toronto after the NHLPA made three counterproposals that were rejected by the NHL. That came two days after the league’s latest offer to the union.