Much Ado About Wasting Time
More gamesmanship. Yawn.
That thd NHL declined to even meet with representatives of the players union on Wednesday six days after last week's debacle in Toronto might make sense given that nobody has anything new to discuss, but it will nonetheless further tick off those hockey fans who were briefly encouraged last week that they might see the NHL soon.
The union may or may not have expected this hardline approach. If they saw last week's NHL offer as a weakening of the league's position, then this might surprise them.
Otherwise, players have been telling other players for weeks not to expect any hockey in October and November, and that the league won't produce its best offer until December, so its no surprise the union isn't planning to immediately work off the NHL's last proposal.
More NHLers, and promiment ones like Patrick Kane, are heading overseas to steal jobs, likely an indication they are being told by NHLPA boss Donald Fehr not to expect a resolution to this labour spat for weeks.
Seriously, though, the time spent by both sides on meaningless, peripheral stuff boggles the mind. This week there was a kerfuffle over NHL owners and/or GMs being permitted to talk to players. Union folks and agents - want to find the really upset people here, talk to an agent losing income - exploded in self-righteous anger, slightly confusing given that they'd been complaining for weeks that owners and GMs were being muzzled.
Anyways, it matters not. NHL players - David Krejci complained this week they were being treated like "animals" - generally don't think for themselves, are solidly behind Fehr (for now) and even if they wanted to agitate for change to the NHLPA's position wouldn't be able to do much because of the new union structure they voted for that ostensibly puts all the power in Fehr's hands. So what possible damage could be done by 48 hours of conversation?
There are already hardline owners saying they should shut down the league now, which makes no sense at all. Having spent unwisely during the summer months right up to the expiration of the old CBA, it would be the height of hypocrisy now (again) for the league to turn around and get suddenly impatient with the negotiating process.
Until these CBA squabbles become about more than name-calling and beating down the other guy, we're destined to have this kind of nonsense spoil the atmosphere time after time. One side shows up late, other side says nothing to talk about so why meet, blah-blah, blah-blah. A true statesman on either side has yet to emerge.
This much seems clear. The minute Gary Bettman said he wanted to start play Nov. 2, you knew the NHLPA would never give him that date. So they'll blow through another pseudo-deadline tonight without having faced one another across a bargaining table.