Posted December 31, 2012 on AP on Fox
The NHL and the players' association will start the new year right where they ended the old one -- at the bargaining table. The sides got together Monday for the first time since Dec. 13, and the union brought along a counterproposal in response to the 288-page contract offer the NHL presented on Thursday. There were some discussions between the negotiators inside the league's midtown Manhattan headquarters and some time spent apart in internal caucuses. ''This discussion was for us to respond and for them to ask questions and us to explain a number of the points we made,'' union executive director Donald Fehr said. ''We covered the range of subjects that their document included.'' After several hours passed, the NHL said it would be going over the players' new contract offer on Monday night and would get back to the union in the morning. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he expected negotiations would restart Tuesday afternoon. ''There was an opportunity for the players' association to highlight the areas that they thought we should focus on based on their response,'' Bettman said. ''That's something we've now got to look at very closely in addition to the myriad other issues.'' Neither side chose to delve into details of what was offered in either of the proposals nor characterize any of the discussions that Fehr said ''weren't terribly long.'' The fact that neither offer was quickly dismissed could be taken as a positive sign that perhaps the gap has closed between them. ''I'm out of the prediction business,'' Fehr said. ''You get up every day and you try to figure out how to make an agreement that day, and if it fails you try and do it the next day. That's exactly where we are.'' Bettman also reserved judgment when asked if progress was made. ''I think it would be premature for me to characterize it and not particularly helpful to the process,'' he said. A crowd of people heading toward New Year's celebrations in New York gathered around the large throng of reporters and television cameras focused in on Bettman and Fehr as the two leaders spoke separately on the busy sidewalk. Clearly, both men would rather have the attention back on the ice instead of themselves. This was the first meeting in nearly three weeks since the last round of negotiations with a federal mediator on Dec. 13. After presenting their proposal, union representatives stayed in the building in case there were further discussions -- later, with talks done for the day, the union said it expected a response from the NHL on Tuesday morning. The New Year's clock ticked down while the window to reach a labor agreement to save the season was rapidly closing. Bettman said a deal needs to be reached by Jan. 11 to allow the season to begin by Jan. 19. That leaves a little less than two weeks to reach an agreement and hold one week of training camp before the puck would drop on a 48-game campaign. So far, a deal has proved elusive and well out of reach. The league and the union had informational discussions -- by conference call and in meetings -- with staff members that lasted much of Saturday and ended Sunday. Those talks were spurred by the extensive contract proposal the NHL made on Thursday. All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule. Bargaining sessions with only the NHL and union hadn't been held since Dec. 6, when talks abruptly ended after the players' association made a counterproposal. The league said that offer was contingent on the union accepting three elements unconditionally and without further bargaining. The NHL then pulled all existing offers off the table. Two days of sessions with mediators the following week ended without progress. The NHL is the only North American professional sports league to cancel a season because of a labor dispute, losing the 2004-05 campaign to a lockout. A 48-game season was played in 1995 after a lockout stretched into January. It is still possible this dispute could eventually be settled in the courts if the sides can't reach a deal on their own. The NHL filed a class-action suit this month in US District Court in New York in an effort to show its lockout is legal. In a separate move, the league filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, contending bad-faith bargaining by the union. Those moves were made because the players' association took steps toward potentially declaring a ''disclaimer of interest,'' which would dissolve the union and make it a trade association. That would allow players to file antitrust lawsuits against the NHL. Union members voted overwhelmingly to give their board the power to file the disclaimer by Wednesday. If that deadline passes, another authorization vote could be held to approve a later filing.

Pressure To Play

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post, The NHL’s Canceler-in-Chief Gary Bettman, under pressure in the form of phone calls from big-market owners — including the Rangers’ James Dolan, multiple sources report — to resurrect bargaining the league abandoned three weeks ago, made modest adjustments to the previous offer regarding, most notably, contract term limits for free agents...

Make this happen NHL and NHLPA

This is something that I have seen tweeted and written print a few times in the last week, the is that the NHL owners have told the Commissioner Gary Bettman that cancelling the season is not an option. Paper exchanged between NHL/ NHLPA. Bottom line: Big mkts. have told Bettman a cancelled season is no-go. Fehr knows this. So will grind. — bruce dowbiggin (@dowbboy) January 2, 2013

How Much Anger Will The Fans Show?

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, Players and owners both know angry fans will return, because anger is a telltale sign of passion, commitment. Frankly, it’s that anger and passion that served as the co-enablers of this lockout. Gary Bettman and his brazen band of billionaires wouldn’t resort to shutting out the house lights so often if they truly feared fans...

"Still Have A Ways to Go" on CBA Agreement

Yesterday, the NHLPA presented the NHL with a counter-proposal to the owner's newest CBA offer. Gary Bettman decided to ring in the new year by reading the 26-page rebuttal last night. Here's Bettman (via CSN Chicago)... “We made a comprehensive proposal that was (288) pages. They’ve come back with a comprehensive response. We need time to analyze it. We’re going...

NHL, players meet for first time in weeks

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL and the players' association will start the new year right where they ended the old one -- at the bargaining table. The sides got together Monday for the first time since Dec. 13, and the union brought along a counterproposal in response to the 288-page contract offer the NHL presented on Thursday. There were some discussions between the negotiators...

NHL teams will scramble once lockout ends

The National Hockey League lockout should end soon. The owners and players are finally bargaining for real. The two sides finally quit posturing. Gary Bettman quit making take-it-or-leave-it offers. Owners are pressuring Bettman to salvage a partial season. Donald Fehr knows his rank and file members are getting more than a little restless.It could take a few days, but the two sides...

Learning To Negotiate

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet, If there is one thing that you, I and Gary Bettman have all learned about a collective bargaining agreement in which the players are fronted by Donald Fehr, it’s that this will be a negotiation. It will not be a walkover. The National Hockey League has had their blowout. It happened in 2004-05, and the league wasted it with a CBA full...

Dealing With Fehr

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC, We've all got lockout fatigue. Fans, sponsors, players, coaches, executives and media. As one GM said Saturday: "I hope this ends, because we're all tired of it." But this isn't going to be easy. It would be criminal not to have a season based on where things stand. But, it doesn't mean Donald Fehr is going to deviate...

NHL, union set for full day of talks

The NHL and the union are gearing up for a full day of talks as the deadline nears to reach a deal to save the hockey season. After the players' association presented a counterproposal Monday, the sides made plans Tuesday for talks that were expected to take up much of the day. Small groups from each side are to meet or confer by conference call during the afternoon about provisions...

NHL, players exchanging labor proposals

NEW YORK (AP) -- The proposals are flying back and forth between the NHL and the players' association. Whether significant progress is being made in the process still isn't all that clear. The league made a counteroffer on Tuesday night in response to one it received from the players on Monday and now the NHL is waiting for another answer. A full day of smaller group meetings...

What we'd like to see happen in the NHL in 2013

The current year has come to a close. The new year is upon us, offering a clean slate. The NHL has a chance to right the ship in the new year and get back to what matters most - actually playing. Here are a handful of things we here at PDL would like to see happen in the NHL in 2013. Play the Games / End the Lockout We'll get the most obvious item out of the way first...

NHL, union dig in for a long day of talks

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NHL and the union are back at the bargaining table and seem determined to work toward a deal to save the hockey season A full day of talks was planned for Tuesday, one day after negotiations resumed following nearly three weeks apart. On Monday, the players' association presented a counterproposal to an offer made by the league late last week. The NHL spent...

NHL Counters NHLPA's Counter Offer

Yesterday, after an afternoon of mini-conferences and confernce calls, the NHL submitted the latest counter offer to the NHLPA... Don Fehr just spoke. Says NHL made a counter. NHLPA will look at it internally and both sides will meet again tomorrow at some point — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 2, 2013 does the NHLPA now counter the NHL's counter...
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