Still waiting for talks to resume between the NHL and NHLPA
What are hockey fans to think? NHL labor negotiations "broke off" on Friday. The league now has less than two weeks until the collective bargaining agrement expires, with no new talks scheduled. However, both sides are expected to be in New York this week holding their own meetings.
The issues remain the same. NHL owners want to cut the players share of revenues from the 57 percent they currently receive. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said in the past that league revenue has risen by more than $1 billion since the last lockout. But now, a report from French language RDS (translated by Pro Hockey Talk) has emerged, saying the NHL claims to have lost $240 millon in the last 2 years. This labor dispute is raising the same question they all do. What constitutes revenue?
"I think the hard park here is for the fans," said Danny Gare. The problem is that neither side seems to care. That's pretty clear when the owners open negotiations by proposing to cut the players' revenue all the way to 43 percent, and then raise it only three percent in their second proposal. Meanwhile the players are refusing to take part, merely adjusting the final year of their initial four year proposal that creates a completely different system. Precious time is being lost, and hockey lifers like Gare are taking notice.
"It's sad, the situation that's going on between the ownership and players," the three time NHL all star told YNN. "When I played we never had any strikes, because we loved the game and we played for the love of it. Business is business and I understand what needs to get done."
Meanwhile, Gare is clear that this is the time that both sides need to fix a system that has been broken for some time.
"(This would be) the fourth work stoppage in 20 years," he continued. "Players and owners have to get together, where they can put a long term package together, and you don't have to go through this every three, four years. That's the part that's frustrating and disappointing. Hopefully they'll get it done and fans will get back to enjoying the game we all love."
Gare is continuing to remain optimistic. While many are resigned to the NHL's fourth work stoppage in the last 20 years, it may still be too early for that to be an inevitability. When talks broke off, TSN hockey reporter Darren Dreger tweated. "As ominous as things may seem, the real negotiating won't start for either the NHL or PA until or around Sept 10."
That would leave five days for the sides to achieve enough progress to avoid a lockout. All fans can do now is hope that a looming deadline can spark negotiations.