The NHL and NHL Players’ Association held an impromptu meeting this Friday in Toronto. As odd as this sounds, they negotiated… how to continue negotiating. As has become apparent over the last four or five sessions, the two parties are unwilling to budge on their respective offers toward establishing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so this unique meeting was arranged in order for the sides to plan a “more productive” future session.
Following Friday’s talks, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had this to say: “[The meeting was] just [a] general discussion of where we are and how to move the process forward.” The two groups are slated to meet yet again today, but the details have yet to come in.
Today’s meeting, if word of mouth and print holds, could showcase a new offer from the NHLPA. By all accounts, the league believes that the next step in this process has to be a concession made from the Fehrs and the NHLPA, and that this concession will roll in today. However, Donald Fehr went on something of a rant following Thursday’s talks that has me second-guessing the league’s assessment: ”[If the league] truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout.” Additionally, a conference call was reportedly held with more than 50 NHL players and one or more of the Fehrs, wherein the consensus reached was that the NHLPA should not budge.
So, the league firmly believes that the NHLPA will concede something, and soon. The NHLPA believes that they’ve been more than accommodating to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, and the owners. I for one am no longer skeptical about Friday’s “meeting to learn how to appropriately meet”; it seems like both parties really needed it. I will give an update of today’s talks as soon as possible, so stay tuned folks.