CHICAGO - MAY 28: National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference at the United Center on May 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
After a fairly optimistic start to the week, it all ended with the doom and gloom with a flick of the wrist. Just 15 days until the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire, talks have broken off almost completely between the NHL and NHLPA. According to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, the CBA talks are off for the time being, but the players are willing to start back up at any given time.
In the end, it seems as if the owners are using the players are a resource to save them from themselves. After an entire summer of handing out these big contracts, the owners suddenly don't want to pay the players in full. They want reductions with no if's, and's or but's.
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Meanwhile, the players and the union are sticking by their initial proposal, which has the players taking reductions during the first three years, but "snapping back" to their 57% percent in the fourth year. It also called for larger amounts of revenue-sharing between larger market teams, and lower market teams to help share the wealth with struggling teams. However, their proposal was only for three years with the option for a fourth year, and the owners were seeking a long-term investment. That is the main reason the owners and Gary Bettman keep referring to the big 10-year deals that the NBA and NFL have recently agreed upon.
While it seems as if we have hit rock bottom, I don't foresee the talks being held off for a considerable amount of time. According to Darren Dreger, he believes the real talks will begin to start soon, as we approach the expiration of the current CBA. When it starts to affect business, the sides will begin to listen again.
As it stands right now though, neither side is willing to give an inch, and we are no closer to a deal now, than we were back in June. All it takes is a single phone call to begin talks again, so hopefully we see some sort of turnaround soon.