Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Buffalo Sabres Morning Report


In their hopes to become a deeper team, and maybe move a prospect - Andrej Sekera (picture above) could find himself or one of his fellow blue line guardian on another team this year as the Buffalo Sabres look to add grit an offensive power in what has been a pretty tame start to the 2012-2013 NHL season.  That is, if there is a season.

In the Buffalo Sabres Morning Report, you are going to get post game reactions, brief snippets, quick news notes, and some other essentials to get your day started on the right foot.  Leading up to the start of training camp and the preseason, we are going to take a team by team look at the Buffalo Sabres schedule.  Of course, the timely start of the 2012-2013 on ice schedule is the negotiations of a new collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League, and the NHL Players Association.

As of right now, both sides are talking, and the NHL has made its initial offer to the players.  In simple terms, they want contract limits, less revenue sharing for players, and entry level contracts last five years, instead of three, delaying free agency for some players.  In terms of negotiations, this is about a pro-organization offer, and has little value for the players.  If negotiations are a give and take – it seems like the players are taking it once again at the negotiating table.  Players were unhappy about the salary roll back during the 2004 negotiations, and about as equally happy about the salary cap.

I was optimistic that this round of negotiations was going to go smoother, because the sides were closer than they were in 2004 to getting a deal done.  That may not be the case, as the NHLPA has yet to issue a formal statement regarding the leagues offer, nor have they offered a counter proposal. Keep in mind I was also optimistic that they wouldn’t lose an entire season the last time around either.

Silence by the NHLPA could be a good thing or a bad thing.  The NHLPA could just be educating its members on the language of the offer.  The members of the NHLPA or even NHLPA headman Donald Fehr could be balking at the offer of giving so much to the league.  Continued silence by the NHLPA could be a slap in the face to the league owners and could mean an impending lockout.  It will be interesting to see if the NHLPA counters with a similar offer with slightly different numbers – or counter with a completely different style proposal that favors the NHLPA from a players stand point.

The last time the NHL shut down operations, the Buffalo Sabres were poised and ready to pounce on a league that was slow to transition to the new style of play, but quick to return to pre-lockout hockey.  Could Darcy Regier be holding his cards and not pulling off that major move just yet in anticipation of that lockout?

Neither side is threatening to shut the season down, and NHLPA front man Donald Fehr said that as much:

The law doesn’t require that the industry shut down if you don’t have an agreement, somebody has to choose to shut it down. At the moment I see no reason to do that on the players’ side. Hopefully they won’t either.

The league could start operations of the regular season or training camp under the old CBA – but that could get messy if things to stall out in negotiations.  No one wants to see the league start playing and then have owners put the padlocks on the arenas days before a big rivalry game, or worse, the Winter Classic.

We will keep track of the storyline here for you, and hope along with you that a deal is done long before the September 15th deadline.  We will be back tomorrow with our first installment of looking at the 2012-2012 regular season schedule.

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