I guess the good news in all this mess is that at least things are moving forward. The CBA negotiations have ended for the day and NHLPA’s Fehr followed them up with some internal discussions. Both sides will continue to break the logjam on talks tomorrow. The parties are moving forward. The biggest stumbling block appears to be the “Make Whole” proposal that first reared its head a few weeks ago. At the moment, it’s coming down a simple numbers game. “With their make whole proposal, players won’t be able to receive every dollar of their deal,” Fehr said.
“Understand that their proposal is made in front of players, in the room, who hear it,” continued Fehr. “Owners can’t come to meetings when they want to if they want to hear stuff directly but a player can, at the union’s expense, come here for himself and all the rest of it. That pretty much speaks for itself, I think. If the notion is that they are honoring all the contracts and everybody’s going to be paid everything they’re supposed to according to the letter of the contracts, it’s of course not true and never has been.”
At the beginning of the week, it seemed like things were going so well. It appeared that we were going to see a deal signed, and we have the teams back on the ice. Now, it just seemed like the talks have slowed down. Did Jeremy Jacobs (Head of the Board of Governors for the National Hockey League and the owner of the Boston Bruins) entry into the talks today have anything to do with it? Jacobs has been seen as a force of division, not just between the two parties, but within league ownership as well.
This week started out with so much hope and progress. Both sides were cordial and accommodating, and were working to reach a genuine consensus. Jacobs arrival seemed to change that. The mood went sour quickly. Talks appeared to get heated and adversarial, and the promising momentum seem to have been lost. Once again, the fan base has been treated to another depressing series of highs and lows in the CBA struggle, and it’s depressing the puck out of me.