Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
After midnight...and NHL, NHLPA still talking
Well, here we are, about 60 weary writers and broadcasters camped out on the fourth floor of the Westin in Times Square, waiting, and waiting and waiting some more....
If Wednesday’s developments in the ongoing NHL lockout are indicative of anything, each side is trying hard to make a deal to salvage a 50-60 game season. But, as has been the case throughout this process, which began in late June, it's not been easy.
On the second consecutive day of bargaining between a group of players and six owners---and without Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr---the sides exchanged written proposals, met back and forth over the course of the day in a midtown hotel, and the league’s Board of Governors was briefed. Last night, the discussions continued past midnight, after concluding at midnight on Tuesday.
“We're going to continue to talk up until we get a deal," the Leafs' Larry Tanenbaum, one of the six owners in the direct talks, said after the two-hour board of governors meeting in Manhattan, and Bettman was positive. “We are pleased with the process that is ongoing,” he said.
It is believed that a segment of big-market owners---which includes the Rangers, Canadiens, Flyers and Red Wings---would like to reach a compromise quickly. But the union will not be pressed into what they believe might be an unfair deal.
The players planned to offer a proposal before the governors met at 11 a.m, but delayed it. “We wanted to do our due diligence,” said one player participating in the sessions. “It’s a slow process, but I think we’re getting there.” He said there seemed to be some “give” on issues from both camps.
The sticking points in the impasse, which has caused the cancellation of 422 games, the Winter Classic and All-Star weekend in January, are how to divide hockey revenues 50-50 while honoring existing player contracts and solve individual player contract issues, such as extending free-agency eligibility and contract limits of five years, which the NHL wants. That final element was discussed last night.
Some governors and alternates were hopeful after when leaving the board meeting at 1 p.m. Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson gave a thumbs-up through his car window and said: “We feel good about the information we got.”
Said Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello: “I’ve always been hopeful there’d be a season…but right now, we just have to leave it in the hands of the people that are talking. They’re talking and that’s the most important thing.”