NASHVILLE – Shea Weber’s quote was telling.
It was last Thursday morning before the negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA blew up in stunning fashion.
“You want to be optimistic, but how many times have we been optimistic and nothing has happened?” the Nashville Predators’ star defenseman pondered.
Fans and media alike were optimistic at that time, but the players weren’t. Hours later, the owners rejected the NHLPA’s latest proposal and the talks broke down.
Five days later, with the dust settled from that unforgettable evening where Donald Fehr held two separate press conferences and Gary Bettman and Bill Daly teed off on the NHLPA, the two sides will meet again on Wednesday in an attempt to save the 2012-13 NHL season.
Despite the looming resumption in negotiations, Predators defenseman Hal Gill isn’t getting his hopes up.
“It’s hard to be optimistic, it’s hard to imagine what we could do to get them to get a season on. In my mind we’ve done way more than our fair share,” Gill said Tuesday. “For the owners to pull away from the table and not be willing to discuss things with Fehr, it’s embarrassing. Enough is enough. For the life of me I can’t figure out what they want. They just want to bully us around.
“I’m so sick and tired of (the owners’) strategy. You either want to get a deal done or you don’t. Obviously they don’t want to get a deal done.”
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Penguins star Sidney Crosby will not be attending this week’s meetings due to the lack of trust between the NHL and NHLPA. Gill doesn’t blame Crosby for not going this week.
“I wouldn’t fly all the way out there trying to get a deal done with someone that’s just going to toy you around,” Gill said. “Those guys that have been in those meetings have done a great job relaying the message to everyone. I can only imagine how frustrating it is when you make an effort to get a deal done and they just walk away from the table.”
The NHL has cancelled games through Dec. 30, leaving the door open for a shortened season to start in January. But the clock is ticking to save the season.
“It’s frustrating because (a deal) is right there,” Gill said. “It’s just a shame because we could be playing right now; we could be working on getting a deal done and getting the season started.”