NHL Lockout 2012: With October 25th Deadline Looming, Neither Side Thinks It's Important To Meet

Bruce Bennett

The deadline for both sides to salvage an 82-game season is Thursday. You would think both sides plan on meeting. If you did think that, you would be wrong.

It should be a known fact to the NHL and the NHLPA, or, maybe more specifically, Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman that in order to get places in CBA negotiations you need to, well, actually negotiate. That's a concept that's been lost to these two sides, though.

You see, in order for the two sides to salvage an 82-game season they need to agree on a new CBA by Thursday. And despite the two sides getting closer with their recent negotiations, they apparently don't see a reason to meet.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said via email "nothing going on" right now as far as CBA talks/scheduling next meeting.

Seriously?

I don't understand why, to this point, we haven't seen any hard negotiations. Neither side has sat in a negotiating room looking at the other side for more than 90 minutes (when they sit down to talk about the core issues). Why? Why don't they see the importance of seeing a meeting through the end -- even if there is smoke blowing out the door?

Both sides are at fault here, too. Yes, the NHL walked away from the players' three offers after 10 minutes (they shouldn't have done that) but the NHLPA aren't angels here, either. Not only have they prolonged these negotiations unnecessarily, but they also refused to talk to the NHL about contractual issues in the proposal after the NHL wasn't interested in their proposals.

Remember, these two sides allowed the September 15th deadline to pass without meeting at all. They didn't even meet to try and get a deal done. And now? It looks like we're running through the same dance. Monday has passed without any meetings, Tuesday will likely do the same. Some reports have surfaced that the two sides might be expecting to meet on Wednesday, but to this point those rumors are unconfirmed.

There is no reason why these two sides shouldn't have been in negotiations all weekend. None. There is no reasonable explanation for why the two sides didn't meet yesterday. It makes no sense that they aren't going to meet Tuesday, either.

And even if they do meet on Wednesday, there's no expectation that they'll actually sit down and try to bang a deal out. Instead fans expect they'll meet, hit a hurdle, then stop negotiating after 90 minutes and deliver yet another depressing news conference in which they lob blame at one another.

That's what we've seen to this point. And that's gotten us to the end of October without hockey.

Which is where we stand now. And that's where we're going to stay, unless the two sides sit in a negotiating room and actually negotiate.

But neither side seems to think that's important. I guess neither is an 82-game season.

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