Friday, October 26, 2012

No one's picking up the phone

"You never thought you'd be alone this far down the line
And I know what's been on your mind
You're afraid it's all been wasted time"
--The Eagles, Wasted Time

Like spurned teenage lovers, the NHL and NHLPA have spent the last few days cooped up in their rooms, playing the same song over and over again, wondering how it all went so wrong (as if they don't know) refusing to talk, let alone meet somewhere to try and sort out their troubles.

With another deadline now gone by and the cancellation of  yet more of the NHL games from the schedule revealed, progress it would seem is non existent, in fact at the moment things appear to be going backwards at a fairly quick pace.

The players union head Donald Fehr is less than impressed that Gary Bettman has been seemingly going behind his back, or to be more precise has allowed the GM's and owners of the teams to go behind his back, seeking a back channel to the NHLPA membership.

The 48 hour window that apparently provided for ownership influence came and went with little change to the dynamic of the negotiations (if we could call this process that) other than to seemingly harden the position of the Fehr's and result in little to no contact since.

With proposals and counter proposals left on the floor and positions apparently hardening, it was with little surprise that the midnight hour came and went on Thursday without puffs of white smoke to signify that peace was at hand.

Not even the late night shout out from President Barack Obama, in reply to a question on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno could move the two sides to find a common room, let alone common ground.

This morning, Bill Daly was dispatched to express his disappointment that yet another session of negotiations has gone for naught, outlining the latest of games to have been removed from the schedule and the percentage of games cancelled from what should have been the 2012-12 season (for the curious that's 26.5 per cent of the season, 326 games in total thus far).

His thoughts were countered by the official reply by Don Fehr of the NHLPA, advising that the move by the NHL today came as "no surprise"

As word spread of the latest cancellations and the removal of the 50-50 proposal as a talking point moving forward (or is that backwards?). A number of the more recognizable of sports writers jumped to their twitter accounts,  offering up some thoughts on the developments.

Elliot Friedman suggesting that the Winter Classic and All Star game are on the block next, perhaps as early as Monday.

Pierre LeBrun did the math for us coming up with the total amount of lost revenue thus far, while Bruce Dowbiggin sees parallels in Donald Fehr's handling of the hockey dispute with that of his days with Major League Baseball.

So, with the weekend upon us and no word on when or if negotiators will get together for a chat,  we wonder just how much longer before another session of Hockey Armageddon arrives.

Some of the latest of reviews of our recalcitrant negotiators can be found below.

National Post-- A slow drive back down the NHL's road to ruin
National Post-- "No contact": NHL and players give each other the silent treatment
National Post-- NHL slices another month from the schedule as lockout talks stall
Toronto Star-- League cancels remaining November games
Toronto Star-- League withdraws 50-50 offer to NHLPA
Toronto Star-- League, union take hockey to the brink
Toronto Star-- League turns down union offer to meet
Toronto Star-- Time spent by both sides on meaningless stuff boggles the mind
Toronto Sun-- NHL cancels games through the end of November
Toronto Sun-- Sun Media NHL polling produces surprising results
Toronto Sun-- NHLPA: "It takes two to negotiate"
Toronto Sun-- Union irked that NHL let GMs field questions from players about CBA
Toronto Sun-- Time running out to salvage full NHL season
Toronto Sun-- Donald Fehr's baseball system won't work in NHL... but this idea might
Ottawa Citizen-- Welcome to the NHL's version of Groundhog Day - again
Winnipeg Free Press-- Fork in the road
Vancouver Sun-- Does anyone in charge even care about the game?
Vancouver Sun-- NHL PLayers' Association questions league's decision to speak with players...
Vancouver Province-- This time the league actually seems to care, but only about losing money
Globe and Mail-- Time for Bettman to walk away

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