Mike Maniscalco

Talks frozen, NHL season becoming a long shot

Posted December 7, 2012
Updated December 8, 2012

— The NHL lockout seemed to be taking a turn for the positive this week, players and owners had dialogue and issues were reportedly being bridged.

What a difference 24 hours makes in these high-dollar negotiations.

NHLPA chief Donald Fehr made the announcement that the two sides were close, only a few details remained from getting the season underway. Evidently the NHL did not share in the optimism. The league felt they had made enough concessions and wanted concrete answers to three 'yes' or 'no' questions, not a counter-offer.

The length of the collective bargaining agreement that the league wants is 10 years, the players countered with eight.

Also at issue is a five-year contract term limit, meaning no more deals that stretch for a decade. Teams will not be able to sign a player from outside the organization to a contract longer than five years and can only extend their players to a seven-year deal.

Reports do indicate that the new transition rules, like buyouts and arbitration, are no longer a sticking point after the talks Tuesday and Wednesday.

When Fehr stepped to the podium Thursday to say that a deal is right around the corner, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was leaving a voicemail to the contrary. Bettman and the league pulled their offer and in doing so, ripped out the hearts of fans that thought a season was coming for Christmas.

This isn’t meant to paint Bettman as the bad guy; he does that well enough on his own. Both sides shoulder blame for this painfully long root canal of the CBA.

Fehr keeps trying to get the best deal possible for the players - trying to take one more inch after the owners group feels they have given back miles from the original proposal. The league is growing tired of having to go back to the negotiating table over the next issue Fehr and company want to bring up.

Even after this dire turn, I’m not so sure we were even that close to a deal Thursday. It appears that the ‘take it or no season’ ultimatum is close to being put in play by the NHL even if the league didn’t cancel the 2004-05 season until February of that go round. This time the negotiations seem to be filled with far more bile than the one that wiped out an entire year eight moons ago.

Let’s pretend Thursday didn’t happen and both sides are going to sit down and try to get a deal done soon and we have a happy holiday.

What is a realistic scenario for getting the game on the ice?

The new CBA is ratified before New Year’s Eve, a 60-game season that stretches from January to April with no cross-conference play is possible and basically it is a playoff from the jump. Each team gets 30 home and away dates and we get a full playoff slate.

If this drags past Jan. 1, a slate of 48 games with no conference mingling and a regular post-season is the probable solution, similar to what the league did in 1994-95.

Back to the real world, after Thursday night it would seem to be a long shot to see one NHL game this year. But it is the holiday season, so maybe a miracle can happen.


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  • StunGunn Dec 8, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Some folks have mentioned catching a few college hockey games on TV. I wish Charlotte wasn't so far because the Checkers have a pretty good team with a few of the guys from the Canes (Dalpe, Sutter, etc) on their roster.

  • wlcat609 Dec 8, 2012

    Best thing that could happen now is if the WHOLE NHL would just fold........

    As for the PNC, just schedule some more Monster Jams and Tractor Pulls!!!!!

  • mich2nc982 Dec 8, 2012

    I am a 5th FULL season ticket holder....and asked for my money back yesterday. enough of the games on both sides. I am DONE with hockey this year, too many ups and downs all to be disappointed again, or more like angered even more!
    I did think of what happened after the last lockout too...could this be a good thing for the Canes and a 2nd Stanley Cup ring? time will tell.
    I have always despised football and probasketball...as a Duke alumni, somewhat got into college basketball. baseball moves too slow for me. I am in SERIOUS hockey withdrawl.

  • dsalter Dec 8, 2012

    The NHL finally is getting a foothold in the South...but I wonder if it can survive another shutdown year.

  • StunGunn Dec 8, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Mike - when people resort to criticizing other people for using "we", it usually means they have nothing constructive to say. You're right: "we" was used properly. I miss hockey, your pre and post game coverage, and the live chats you had back in '09 when the Canes made their run in the playoffs. I've given up on having a season this year, but remember what happened after the lockout in '05? Hope it brings the same luck to the Canes for the 2013-2014 season!

  • Mike Maniscalco Dec 8, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Actually I am invested in the league, seeing part of my job is to cover the owners, players and games and then report it. So yes,in the royal 'we', I am a part of the league because covering it is part of my income. Glad that's what you pulled out of the article. And 'we' goes for we as people who are interested in seeing the game return are no closer. Pretty sure it was used properly.

  • viking416 Dec 7, 2012

    View quoted thread

    Wow! does the sporting planet revolve around you alone? I don't care about basketball or baseball....is baseball even a sport? At least I understand the game.....sad that you don't and yet you feel the need to jump into something you know nothing about. This type of uneducated behavior is not uncommon in these parts

  • bigfella Dec 7, 2012

    Bettman is a joke. This could be the end of the NHL, and no one cares any more. Only people hurting are those who work at the arenas who depend on that income to live.

  • Green Dreams Dec 7, 2012

    If the players cannot make do making millions, let them get a real job trying to make ends meet with 50K a year. Nobody is forcing them to play hockey. Let the gazillionaire owners figure out how to make money with a NFL franchise and no one playing hockey. Both sides suck because neither gives a rat's about the fans. Thank God it is the ACC basketball time of the year, GO DUKE!!!

  • Pastor Joe Dec 7, 2012

    Who really cares? Never have understood the game. Guess I'm just too old. Football - Basketball - Baseball!




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