Greetings from New York City. The home of Broadway, fashion and Regis Philbin. For many years, this was the home the TV game show. For your amusement, I bring you the latest edition of “Gotham or Bargaining.”
Question 1: What would you describe as a work in progress? The recovery plan from Hurricane Sandy, or the National Hockey League’s collective bargaining agreement talks?
Question 2: What would you describe as slow, very slow? The traffic in New York, or the progress of the NHL CBA talks?
Question 3: What would you describe as unpredictable? The weather in the tri-state area or the NHL CBA talks?
The answer is obviously all of the above!
Day two of hardcore negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association solved very little. Major issues like revenue sharing and “making the players whole” were part of Wednesday’s docket. But it would be impossible to use the word progress in any discussion of what really happened at the undisclosed location. Both sides released nebulous comments about the day to avoid any chance for the other side being insulted and both agreed they would meet Thursday. That my friends is progress. That’s it. Nothing more.
Meetings in NYC set for early afternoon for players and league. Sounds like they have committed to meet atleast until tomorrow for sure.
The possibility of a season, any type of season, is in the balance. A Dec. 1 start date and a 70-game season looks attractive, very attractive if we can get a deal.
There are those that say the league is under huge pressure from the sponsors to play. Don’t believe it. What NHL commissioner Gary Bettman thinks is important for the game is much more vital than what the people at Molson/Coors or NBC think. And don’t believe that Donald Fehr is being dictated to by a group of militant players who are worried about their playing careers or paycheques.
The game (in the board room), you see, continues. It continues between owners and players, union vs. league, Gary vs. Don. And it will continue for the next week to 10 days. In saying that, however, is the assumption that there is some traction in the next 48 hours. There must be agreement on something before Friday be it contract lengths, revenue sharing, free agency, arbitration, entry level contracts or management rights. There has to be something these two sides actually agree on!
Until they do, we might as well be watching a real game show, if we actually knew where they were meeting, that is.
Phrases like “work in progress” and words like “unpredictable” and “traction” are all things that have far too much meaning to hockey fans right now. Those words and phrases have to change by Friday if we are to see any chance of the NHL resuming by the end of the month.
Yes, it’s good that we now have real bargaining sessions between the two sides, but at some point we expect results. Real results.
Even the silliest of game shows has results and on this one the clock is ticking. Tick, tick, tick.