The ongoing "talks" between the NHL owners and the player's association took a turn for the worse yesterday. When the owners released their new proposal, that included a 50/50 split on hockey related revenue, there was new optimism among hockey fans that we will see our teams on the ice very soon. Yesterday we waited around with bated breath as the NHLPA presented the owners with a counter proposal. It took less than an hour for our new found optimism to get kicked right in the balls.
Head sock puppet Gary Bettman said yesterday "We were done in an hour today because there was really nothing there." So the players and the owners are still far apart and that should not be a surprise. But can someone please tell me what getting up and walking away accomplishes? I am not an expert on labor disputes or contract talks but isn't the first key to negotiating actually being in the same room and talking to each other? Instead Bettman and Bill Daley pack up and leave with no new talks scheduled.
Egos and pride have now gotten in the way of the world's greatest sport. Bettman and the NHL are concerned with winning the PR battle and making the players look bad, which they did a good job of. Head of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr only cares about "winning" this dispute. I really think he doesn't give a crap about the players or the game of hockey. I am positive that both side give exactly zero fucks about the fans. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
If the NHL and NHLPA really cared about the game and it's fans then they would actually negotiate. It is time to stop negotiating from the podium, in press releases and on Twitter. It is time to lock yourselves in a room with all the coffee, Red Bull and/or 8 balls you need to hash this out. There is a middle ground to be reached so be adults and get there! It is time to swallow your pride and put your egos to bed and come to an agreement. And if you think a "Thank You Fans" message on the ice and a little plastic Stanley Cup will make things better this time around you are sadly mistaken!