LOCKOUT Day 57: Down to the Comma, we’re losing the season


September 12, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHLPA executive director Don Fehr (center) flanked by Vancouver Canucks player Manny Malhotra (left) and Winnipeg Jets player Ron Hainsey (right) during a press conference at the 2012 NHLPA summer player meetings at the Marriott Marquis. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

What happened here? We were so close to a deal. Both sides were getting along. Now, all the animosity and sniping has returned to the negotiations. Yesterday’s discussion lasted only about an hour, and it seemed to spiral down rapidly. Fehr went back to his old descriptive self when he talked to the media.

“The owners made it clear there is no give with respect to any of their proposals….we’re past the point of give and take.”(*sigh*) ‘Down to the comma’ was an expression made by Fehr to represent the unwillingness of ownership to make discussion on contract rights. “I don’t know how you make an agreement if that’s their position. ” Fehr continued. Granted, he didn’t cross the rant line… but he got close. “From the beginning, it’s sort of been we want it because that’s our view of the world, and we’d like to have it, and it just shifts all the risks against the players. It flies in the face of something  really important.”

The negotiations seem to stall over the player contracting issues.  The recent problems in the talks pose the question ‘What has caused this viscous 180 degreee turn against co-operation?’ What made the owners who were willing to make concessions and get the season started suddenly put the wall back up. (My opinion is Jacobs.) Fehr had his own answer to the contract question. “The answer is that players will have vastly fewer rights and vastly less leverage for a vastly longer portion of their career under the NHL proposal. We know why they would like that, you know, the owners don’t like the players to have any bargaining power, everybody understands that. You can ask yourselves whether if that’s a matter which is in any fashion fair or equitable. That’s where we are.”

That’s were we are. Someone better polish up the Stanley Cup to engrave another ‘Season Not Played’ on it.