Lockout seems inevitable as the NHL and PA go on hiatus

Conversations about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association was broken off Friday after the sides couldn’t agree to a deal. They are currently in recess, but the NHLPA will stay in New York City waiting for the NHL to continue talks once again.

Not only are the NHL and NHLPA arguing about the finances of the CBA, but they are also arguing about who ended the CBA negotiations for recess. Both sides are saying they did it, not us. 

Donald Fehr, NHLPA executive, said the owners elected to break off talks. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman argued by saying, “That’s an unfair and inaccurate characterization.”

The NHLPA responded to the NHL’s counter proposal Tuesday. They didn’t like the offer given to them and aren’t willing to accept a decreased share of the players’ revenue.

“We did not get a proposal from the [NHLPA],” said Bettman. “We call it more of a response.”

The “response” Bettman talked about was the NHLPA’s counter was an attempt to add a fourth year on the initial offer in which included a lower share of revenue for the players over the first three years, but back to the level of 57 percent in the fourth year.

Donald Fehr said, “We proposed several concepts for the fourth year that would allow the fourth year to be something less than 57 per cent of revenues. The suggestion was that if we could get over the fourth year and their objection to the 57-per-cent snapback that would give us an opportunity to move forward.”

Finances and economics continue to be a huge issue in the conversations for a new CBA. The economics are only a part of the process for a new CBA, granted it is a huge chunk. There is realignment, new rules for player safety and much more to agree to. However, once the finances are settled things will start to fall in place fairly easy.

The NHL and PA need to agree to a new CBA in order to save the 2012-13 seasons. Smaller market teams like the Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers are riding on a wave after making the playoffs last season. And if there were to be a cancellation of the season like in the 2004-05 season, those markets would be hit hard and lose some fans.

“What I tough was a promising week ended with disappointment,” said Bettman. To add onto his disappointment, he continued, “I’m disappointed. We offered to talk a year ago. The first session was on June 29th.”

Gary Bettman has set a deadline of September 15 that if there isn’t a new CBA in place, the NHL will lock the players out until a new one is agreed upon.

The NHLPA is set to have a meeting scheduled for September 12 and 13 in New York City, according to Renaud Lavoie of RDS.