CBA talks are expected to resume at some point this week as time is running out to end the NHL lockout in time to save the 2012-13 season.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, asked about negotiations this week, said in an email, “Yes, I expect there will be talks. But no specifics yet on time or place.”
The league and NHL Players’ Association reached an impasse Thursday following a bizarre sequence of events that included NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr saying the sides were close and reversing course minutes later after a voicemail indicated the league found the union’s stance “unacceptable.”
Commissioner Gary Bettman appeared so rattled by the NHLPA counter-offering instead of accepting a take-it-or-leave-it proposal that he said the owners’ most recent offer was off the table. Players have since told multiple news outlets that they do not believe that to be true.
More games are set to be canceled later Monday, through Dec. 30. That’s eight more for the Washington Capitals, if you’re still counting. Not wiping out the scheduled through New Year’s Eve leaves faint hope that the season could still begin for the Caps at the Pittsburgh Penguins, though that’s very unlikely.
Quickly approaching is a deadline to save a season (perhaps 48 games like in 1994-95) or cancel it altogether. Bettman said last week that the league had not set a date to make that call.
It’s uncertain where the next collective bargaining talks will be held because, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, the NHLPA no longer has its temporary office space in New York City. He floated the idea of Chicago and said Toronto (where the players’ office is) would be unlikely.
Washington, which is easily accessible from both New York and Toronto, could make sense. And, hey, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is right down the street if the NHL changes its mind on not wanting mediators involved again.