Well, both sides sat down(after several hours of delays)to take a serious look at the NHL’s newest proposal, and the NHLPA counter-offers. With nine days and counting on whether or not there will even be a season, both sides are making an effort. Gary Bettman said the league’s new offer agreed to player requests on some issues. “In our response, there were certain things that the players’ association asked for that we agreed to,” Bettman said. “There were some things that we moved in their direction (on), and there were other things where we said no. But that’s part of the process.” From the party of the ten minute refusal and ‘deal breaker’ personages, this is actual progress.
While my hope is rising, I know part of it is inspired by the fact that the union could formally go nuclear with the ‘disclaimer of intrest’ and disband the union. The players have until midnight tonight to formally break the union(and cause all new levels of hell to break loose.). The fact that we’re involved in a continuous process is something that I’m glad to see,” Bettman said, “but we’re clearly not done yet.” Even on New Years Eve, Bettman had some enthusiasm that seemed missing in previous discussions. “They have come back with a comprehensive response, which is why we need some time to analyze it, just like they needed three days to come up with a response before they came back to us.
Today will tell us everything. The NHL is pushing hard to make a deal before the players have no choice but to either fire off the disclaimer or abort the launch. Fehr has been adamant that the players still retain all the rights to invoking the disclaimer. It’s going to be another interesting day for hockey in America. Team USA will be fighting it out in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, and the league will be deciding its fate.
We’ve got one Bruin there negotiating for the players. Bruins’ defenseman Andrew Ference is there on-site with the NHLPA. To be honest, I feel good about this. He’s smart, he saavy, he was the NHLPA rep for Boston before Daniel Paille, and he knows how to get things done. If anyone is going to look out for the intrests of his fellow players, while keeping an eye on the fan base it is him. With the gap narrowing, and time running out, it’s going to be a very rough twenty four hours.