Season on the line as NHL suggests two-week break
With the chance for even an abbreviated season on the line, the NHL has suggested a two-week break before it meets with the NHL Players’ Association again, according to the Associated Press.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made the suggestion to the Players’ Association’s director Donald Fehr, but has yet to receive a response. As of Thursday night, the players continued to say that they would meet whenever in order to reach a deal to end the lockout.
“Gary suggested the possibility of a two-week moratorium,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. “I’m disappointed because we don’t have a negotiating partner that has any genuine interest in reaching an agreement. Zero interest.”
The league appears poised to call off more games as neither side has scheduled further negotiations, thus creating the possibility that the entire season will be canceled.
“I hope not, but I’m more discouraged now than I have been at any point in the process,” Daly said. “I responded to Don saying he did not know how to proceed from here.”
According to the Players’ Association, even with the recent negotiation problems, they want to continue bargaining.
“Of course everyone on the players’ side wants to reach an agreement,” said Steve Fehr, the union’s special counsel. “The players have offered the owners concessions worth about a billion dollars. What exactly have the owners offered the players? We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t. So we are ready to meet.
“If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions. What does that tell you about their interest in solving this?”
The lockout has now reached 62 days and at this point, 327 regular-seasons games — including the Winter Classic — have been canceled. If the two sides do not reach an agreement by the end of next week, there is a limited chance that the season will start by Dec. 1.
Last Friday when the two sides met, the negotiations broke down over a disagreement on the economic side of the deal.