The closer PA gets, the farther NHL deal seems
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the fans "deserve" a longterm solution. Problem is, with NHLPA boss Donald Fehr claiming the players have made more significant movement and the dollars and terms are closer than ever...a new season seems as far off as ever.
It seems as simple to fans as the old Sesame Street lesson---"near...far."
Was Fehr blustering when he claimed this afternoon that strides had been made and a deal could be struck? Was it only PR posturing by the PA?
Bill Daly calls lengths of contracts "the hill we'll die on." Careful what you wish for. After a free agent summer of madness by dozen-year deals, players have to have their heads on swivels to be told a contract can only be five years, but that rule's got to be in place for 10.
Fans may never know for sure, but Bettman quickly ended hope for a sudden settlement in the high stakes fight over hockey's $3.3 billion dollar pie and its future.
I think the pushback by the owners was inevitable. This is still a staredown with fortunes at stake. If the only significant difference remaining were matters like the maximum terms of deals (split the difference between 5 and 8 years, already!) then a solution could easily be found.
Bettman is right: the fans DO deserve a longterm solution, but Canadiens lovers and NHL fans everywhere do NOT deserve to see another long winter without hockey.
I still believe, CJAD and Sports Illustrated's Mike Farber, that the Grinch masks will come off, Bad Santas will ultimately do the right thing and "HRR" and "make whole" can stuff every hockey sock before Christmas.
If only the owners and players didn't have to elbow and cross-check our hopes with every hot round of discussions or cooling off periods.
More with Farber at 7:55AM on the Andrew Carter Morning Show, TVA's Louis Jean at 7:10 and input from La Presse beat writer Francois Gagnon as well.