Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

NHL and NHLPA Talks Take On Timely Urgency


While all members of the Buffalo Sabres are affected by the negotiating going on between the NHL and the NHLPA, Tyler Ennis is probably affected the most.  His re-signing with the team is probably being held up by the fact that the NHL and the NHLPA still have a significant impasse when it comes to negotiating a new CBA.

With August ticking away, and September ready to be portrayed on calendars throughout North America – time is now of the essence when it comes to negotiations.

With that in mind, you have to wonder why there is such a lag time between the two sides getting together to talk.  Travel has a lot to do with it.  Donald Fehr was present at meetings just outside of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport earlier this month, the following days saw similar meetings take place in British Columbia and Toronto.

At what point does the NHL – with executives spread out over two countries, and the NHLPA, spread out globally during the off season, realize that fans are awaiting the start of the 2012-2013 NHL season, and that fans of the NHL have paid enough dues through previously lockouts, bad expansions, overpriced merchandise and tickets to be able to start the season on time?

Does Donald Fehr really have to travel to meet players face to face?  Has Donald Fehr not realized that the year is 2012, and there are video blogs, webinar, online seminars and a variety of other technological tools available that he could maintain a constant presence with NHL officials while keep in contact with the constituents of his union that he was hired to represent?

With as much time on the hands of the major players in the negotiations, does it really take days, and sometimes weeks to digest an offer for a counter proposal?  Is there not away to present your opponent, nay, your negotiating partner with an outline, a detailed break out of the proposal so that they need only read it and not hire an additional interpreter to dissect every word of legalese you tried hiding in the small print?

Does no one watch American Pickers?  When your negotiating, its – both sides work from their starting point and get to the middle as quickly, shrewdly, or settle on an agreed upon figure in the shortest possible time.

Instead of waiting for offers and counteroffers, both the NHL and the NHLPA should take a copy of the existing collective bargaining agreement, take out their red pens, highlighters and magic eight balls and come up with their “reasonable” approach at a new collective bargaining agreement.  The two sides should meet, compare notes, and continue to refine both copies of the CBA until they are the same and we have an agreement.

At this point we have one side proposing something, the other side not liking it, and counter proposing with nothing even close to what the other side offered. The NHLPA is expected to respond to the current NHL proposal on Thursday.

We have seventeen days counting today for the National Hockey League and the Players Association to figure this out.  It is very likely that the NHL season will not start on time, if again at all – unless some 11th hour heroics save the season.

We will keep you updated with all the news, notes and updates we can on the CBA saga – in the hopes that one day soon we will be able to cry out around Western New York, that we once again have a hockey season.

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