If you were the owner of the wealthy, successful New York Rangers, how eager would you be to give more of your money to a fund that could help struggling teams like your local rival Islanders? (Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
By Stu Hackel
The players and owners were supposed to meet on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto to discuss the CBA’s core economic issues now that contrasting offers have been proposed by each side. After Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly, met with NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr and his brother Steven, a PA legal advisor, in a scheduled morning session to talk procedure and a few key points, they decided to postpone the larger afternoon talks and reconvene on Thursday.
“I think more than anything else it was to review where we are in the process, where we’ve come from, where we are with the various proposals and to determine how to move the process forward in the best way possible — hoping and understanding that both sides are committed to using the time left to making a deal as quickly as possible,” Daly told reporters afterward.
Fehr also met the media (video) and made little of the postponement, characterizing it as a normal part of what goes on in bargaining. Perhaps that’s so. Fehr said the postponement was not a bad sign — and it seems that since they will go at it again Thursday, this is not cause for concern. Had talks broken off, then we’d worry.
That doesn’t mean all is well, as you know. Fehr admitted there was some frustration on both sides, in part, I’m sure, due to growing concern that the owners’ threatened lockout on Sept. 15 could become reality. The two proposals on the table make finding agreement on things difficult, especially because, as Kevin Allen writes in USA Today, “Neither side seems willing to negotiate off the other side’s offer.”