Barring an unlikely last-minute deal, the NHL-imposed deadline to play an 82-game schedule this season will quietly pass.
In what has been an odd couple of days on a number of fronts since the lockout began on Sept. 16, the players association, after an internal conference call Tuesday, made it known that it was willing to meet with the NHL on Wednesday without preconditions, according to several media reports. The NHL, however, sees no reason to get together.
In an email to CSNPhilly.com, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said: They said they were willing to meet. But given their position on our proposal and their unwillingness to offer a new one, Im not sure what we would be meeting about. Back to the drawing board.
In other words, the NHL is insisting that the union bargain off of the leagues latest proposal, which features an immediate reduction of the players share of hockey-related revenue to 50 percent (down from 57 percent at the end of the last CBA), as well as numerous contractual restrictions.
Last week in Toronto, the NHL tabled that proposal with the stated goal of starting a full season on Nov. 2. A CBA would have to be agreed upon by this Thursday, Oct. 25 in order for that to occur.
Late on Monday, it was learned that the league broke with traditional labor negotiations and allowed owners and general managers to contact the players during a 48-hour window late last week in order to present the facts of the latest proposal. French-Canadian network TVA originally reported that news.
The unusual tactic reportedly, and not surprising, did not sit well with the NHLPA, which was already upset with the league for not considering its three counter-proposals from last week.
Should there be no real progress towards a new agreement in the next four or five days, the league will undoubtedly start wiping out more games -- permanently. Its conceivable theyll start with the Winter Classic, which requires monotonous planning and could be used as leverage by the union, as well as the All-Star Game.
In the words of Winston Wolfe the clock is ticking.