So like everyone else in the hockey world, I’ve been following all of the news with the proposals presented by the NHL and the NHLPA this week. I do not, repeat, DO NOT, agree that this is going to lead to any more negotiating or more talks at this point in time. This past week has just been a botched public relations move that was handled poorly.
Gary Bettman has made sure that the lock out is continued. Let me explain.
Leading up to this past Tuesday, when the NHL presented the infamous 50/50 deal, the owners and Bettman had stated that they were waiting for the players to present a CBA proposal. Then all of a sudden, Bettman and the owners come out and say “Here’s our deal.” I thought you were waiting for the players? But hey, it’s all good. You want to get the puck moving, great. All we fans initially hear is that it involves having an 82 game season, and the 50/50 split on revenue. Sounds great right?
Well, to anyone not a player, yeah it sounds decent. However, the players took a look at it and said, “Ok, here comes the counter deal”.
The players took an extra day, and didn’t present 1, not 2, but 3 counter proposals for the NHL. Obviously, the players took a lot of time to make sure that they put together deals that they thought would honestly be considered by the NHL and perhaps springboard into more discussions/negotiations.
Let’s take a break for two seconds. When negotiating a contract, normally one side presents a contract. Then, the opposing side counters. This goes back and forth, repeat, back and forth, until an amicable deal is reached. Both sides make concessions and hopefully walk away somewhat content with a deal.
That’s for anything but the NHL.
What does the NHL and the brilliant commish do? Reject it in 10 minutes.
That’s 3 CBA proposals, rejected in 10 minutes. Not, one rejected every 10 minutes. All 3, shot down, in 10 minutes.
Seems a little fast doesn’t it?
First, the players are accused of not putting a contract on the table. Then, once they review a contract and try to counter it, they’re rejected before the ink is dry on the 1st of the 3 proposals they printed. They took time, and made sure that they developed options, they didn’t just sling something together in, oh, 10 minutes. They also came up with more than 1 counter. How often do you see that? “Here’s 2 different proposals we’re willing to consider”. Never!! However, the players developed 3 different proposals, to try and speed up the process. Then, they’re shot down immediately.
The NHL’s move says several things to me. First, that they are trying to get a favorable view in the media to try and put pressure on the players. Second, they aren’t really willing to negotiate at this point in time. Third, this is going to be done on their terms, and it’s going to be their way or the highway. Finally, any counter proposal that wasn’t a photocopy of the NHL’s initial proposal was going to be rejected.
By these moves, over the course of 48-72 hours, Gary Bettman and the NHL just spit in the faces of the NHLPA. Why in God’s name would the players want to come back to the negotiating table? I know I wouldn’t want to. Heck, wouldn’t one at least expect the owners/Bettman to try to counter the NHLPA’s offers. I’m not even asking for 3 counters, 1 would suffice. At least that way, you’re still negotiating. But no, that’s too much work.
Then, the NHL cancels games through November 1. Brilliant huh? It’s pretty much says to the players. “You want an 82 game season, you accept the initial proposal.”
Based on all of this, I don’t see the lockout ending soon. Heck, I don’t even see hockey by the end of November. Why would the PA even want to put together another contract? Bettman doesn’t even want to consider them. After all this, the players will be waiting until they’re offered another contract.
This was all just a botched PR move by Gary Bettman and the NHL. There was no intention of ending this lockout this week. So, we’ll keep going. I can’t say that I blame the players at this point. They tried. They even went above and beyond what was expected. Even the players seemed shocked at how fast they were shot down.
So if you’re going to blame someone at this point in time for the lockout, blame Bettman. You’d think that this being his 3rd lockout, he’d know better.
But this is Gary Bettman we’re talking about.