June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on stage at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Do you know how teams fighting for a playoff berth call all of their remaining games "must win" games? Well the NHL CBA negotiations have officially entered that territory. Every single day is big from this point forward. There is less than three weeks before the September 15th deadline in which the owners will lock out the players if there isn't a new CBA.
Hence the "must win" mentality.
There will be no negotiations today, with the two sides presumably taking a hard look at their respective stances to see where they stand before they hit the negotiating table on Tuesday. Hopefully this week's talks are much more fruitful than last week, in which the two sides continued to state that they're still far apart on a new deal.
Supposedly the two sides are very close on a few issues. Unfortunately, those issues are none of the "core problems" keeping the two sides apart right now.
The good news? Both sides do agree that a revenue sharing system has to be in place. The bad news? Neither side can agree on how to get this done.
The players think that every issue is connected. While the owners don't want to move forward unless they can settle the core economic issues. As of tomorrow, the two sides will have had a full week since the "secret" meeting on Wednesday in which the top top executives from both parties met to get a better understanding of where they needed to spend the most time in terms of negotiations.
Just know this, every day from this point forward (whether there is a metting or not) is going to be huge. If both parties are no closer by the end of the week then these negotiations are going nowhere fast. You will be hearing a lot of people saying things like, "negotiations don't really start until the 11th hour." Well, it's officially 10:30, and depending on how this week goes, the clock might strike 11 quicker than we think.