April 12, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Fans cheer during the first period in game one of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the Washington Capitals and the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Process and Substance (and maybe a solution) in the on-going talks.

The contract talks continue in Toronto. NHLPA executive director Don Fehr made one critical statement to the press today.  “This is an essential part of the negotiation process.” offered Fehr in regards to the lack of forward momentum between the union and the league. “You got to make sure you understand what the guys want to do, and how they see things and what they think is important. Because it’s their union and their contract.”

Fehr delivered the union’s main objective as well. “The task is to try and find a way to make an agreement, if that’s something the owners are inclined to do. I hope that they are, and we’ll see how it goes.” At the moment, it seems we are like the the 2012-2013 season is the Titanic heading for the iceberg of a lockout. “It is a process that goes on until it ends, there is no artificial termination.(unlike the Titanic.) Fehr was careful to remind the reporters that covering collective bargaining is nothing like covering a sporting event. The standard question of  ‘What happened in the game today?’ doesn’t necessarily apply.  It is profoundly doubtful that we’ll see a CBA version of a Nathan Horton goal in double overtime to save the NHL from a work stoppage.

The bright spot in all of this is that some of the owners seem positively receptive to the player’s innovative proposal.  That there might actually be some consensus amongst the owners who see the writing on the wall. A healthy league means more cash for everyone.  A healthy league means a broader fan base in the smaller markets. A healthy league could easily mean expanded television rights in the United States.  Fehr was cautiously optimistic .”It is both gratifying and re-assuring to me to see this level of interest, and this level of commitment, and this level of attention, and discussion we’ve been having during these meetings.

“It re-affirms we’re doing the right thing.”





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Tags: CBA Don Fehr Nhlpa

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