Daly: No drop-dead date for NHL season

The National Hockey League could be inching closer to another lost season.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly joined HOCKEY CENTRAL @ Noon on Wednesday and discussed the possibility of cancelling the entire season if a new collective bargaining agreement can’t be reached in time to start playing games by mid-January.

“I don’t think there is a date circled,” Daly said of a potential drop-dead date for a new deal. “Obviously as we’re moving towards end of December, we have to get realistic on how many games we can play. (Gary Bettman) is on record saying we’re not looking to playing less than 48 games.

Daly as well pointed out the NHL may need to cancel more games before Christmas.

With no talks scheduled, Daly believes there are still major hurdles to cross before the sides can reach an agreement.
“I will tell you tell this,” Daly continued. “The owners told them that we needed three issues. Not only didn’t get any of those issues. They didn’t get a single one of the issues they asked for… What we found out is they still want to negotiate over the issues. Haven’t moved on any of them.”

Daly appeared frustrated with some of what the NHLPA has been asking for in the recent round of negotiations.

“They proposed compliance buyouts. They proposed a cap on escrow. Those are all money outside the system. In addition to the $300 million that we’re giving on top of the 50-50 that makes it not 50-50, they’re asking for more dollars outside of the system … Until we settle all the financials, to suggest we have a 50-50 split is wrong and not accurate.”

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr joined The Jeff Blair Show earlier on Wednesday where he said he believes the players are ready to strike a deal but the league isn’t willing to participate in talks.

“They know we’re not very far apart,” Fehr said on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday. “They say they have nothing left to give but what exactly have they given? All the giving here has been done by the players. In terms of a deadline, it’s only the NHL setting deadlines. What could we do? Threaten to go on strike? We’re already on strike.

Fehr added that the players are ready to resume discussions at any time.

“We’re ready today, tomorrow, the next day. There’s not a lot we can do.”