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NHL, PA continue game of chicken while barn burns

NHL players' association head Donald Fehr speaks to

NHL players' association head Donald Fehr speaks to reporters following collective bargaining talks in Toronto. (Oct. 16, 2012) Credit: AP

Stop me if you've heard this before.

The warring NHL and the players aren't planning on meeting today.

In a late-night exchange, the NHLPA -- after a conference call with its executive board, a player rep from each team -- decided to ask the league to meet with no strings attached or pre-conditions.

Problem is, the NHL has had a proposal on the table that envisons an 82-game season if there's a deal by Thursday, Oct. 25.  Of course, the sides haven't met since last Thursday, when the NHLPA offered their own threesome of proposals which the NHL quickly rejected.

And Tuesday night, the NHL, through Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, got the word out that they wouldn't meet unless the union wanted to negotiate off the league's proposal or offer a new one.

So, the major standoff continues, even though there appears to be -- at least from the outside looking in -- a financial bridge that can be crossed if each side moves toward the middle on a 50-50 split of revenues.  But there's bad blood clogging any movement, and the chances of an 82-game season are quickly vanishing.

As previously written, expect another chunk of games in November to be cancelled by the end of the week as this increasingly embarrassing battle of 'chicken' blunders on, and the collateral damage continues, with arena workers, team employees and others taking the hits.

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