“Nothing firm. There is a potential for Tuesday,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email to The Associated Press.
If anyone has been following the latest series of possibilities, perhaps another opportunity has arrived. Last week, both parties held two days of talks in New York without discussion of (HRR)hockey related revenue. HRR has been the ‘hard core economic issue’ that has prevented the NHL regular season from starting on time.
This month long lockout has already wiped out the entire preseason and the first three six games of the Boston Bruins’ regular season. At the current pace of cancellations, the NHL will soon be announcing the next series of cancellations, (It is very likely that those possible cancellations will be announced as early as next week, and could clear the calendar to the middle of November, or perhaps as far as Thanksgiving.)Any form of a new CBA will have to quickly worked out. It will be needed to prevent more cancellations and provide an opportunity to make up the lost games. (Believe it or not, a full season is still possible.)
The last series of negotiations rapped up on Thursday. Once again, both the NHL and the NHLPA chose to discuss secondary issues such as drug testing instead of focusing on how to divide up revenue. The league and the union did little to close the gap. As long as neither side is willing to re-open this matter, then we’ll have to settle for AHL, OHL, or European hockey.
The NHL still says it is waiting for a new proposal from the union. (Because Lord knows, the union’s first proposal, which could only be described as innovative, was dismissed out of hand.) The owners will not look at any offer that doesn’t have the players accept a significant drop of HRR. (The current fifty-seven percent of revenue they received under the salary cap in the last contract.) The NHLPA doesn’t want to look at a major rollback at this time. They believe it would only further encourage the slew of poor decisions made by ownership. It would also very likely just lead them back to another lockout at the end of this CBA.
As of now, following Daly’s projections, the league and its teams are still losing about ten million dollars a day. Revenues are down, and fans are annoyed to the part of enraged. (An occupy TD Garden event is planned for October 20th.) I only have to wonder how much longer Mr. Jacobs and the rest of the board of governors are going to keep the fans away from NHL hockey.