San Jose Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle believes a select group of NHL owners, particularly those whose bottom lines benefit from healthy hockey markets, are willing to slow the collective bargaining process and cancel more regular-season games until they get the new CBA they want.
Other owners, Boyle told CSNBayArea.com, might actually agree with portions of the NHLPA’s proposal, and might not be so determined to institute a swift reduction of player salaries and contracts.
According to NHL rules, commissioner Gary Bettman only needs eight of 30 owners’ votes to veto any CBA proposals made by the NHLPA that he doesn’t himself approve of; the NHLPA, on the other hand, needs a majority in order to ratify or reject an offer.
“I think when players make comments, sometimes it’s directed towards 30 owners, but I think a lot of us feel that it’s not across the board. It’s a certain group of teams that are controlling 30 others,” Boyle told the site on Thursday. “It doesn’t make any sense to me that eight teams can control the fate of 22 other ones.”
Bettman said he and just two owners crafted the league’s last proposal, a counteroffer to the NHLPA delivered on Sept. 12.
The Boston Bruins Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary Flames’ N. Murray Edwards were the two owners, reported Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
Boyle, a 36-year-old veteran, said he believes the players must make concessions in these negotiations but doesn’t see a quick end to the lockout.
“I think we have to give back. There are a lot of things that we need to fix, and we want to give back,” he told CSNBayArea.com. “They say it’s our turn, or whatever, but they don’t want to negotiate until we start missing some cheques.”
NHL players were scheduled to receive their first paycheque for the 2012-13 season on Oct. 15, but on Thursday 82 games of the regular-season schedule were cancelled.
Boyle, who won a gold medal with Canada in the 2010 Olympics, spent the 2004-05 lockout with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Elite League.
“I don’t see anything happening for the next couple months,” Boyle said. “I know that’s very pessimistic of me, and I really hope I’m wrong. But the eight guys… what if there’s 22 teams out there that want to play right now? How do eight teams control their fate? That bothers me the most.”
The principle negotiators of the new CBA, including Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr, met informally in Toronto on Friday but no formal talks have been scheduled.