It’s nice to see Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr finally put an end to all the dick measuring that’s gone on during the NHL lockout by way of today’s news the NHLPA finally has a new proposal to contemplate.

While the offer put forward by Bettman after a protracted period in which both sides seemed content to let the other make the first move, resulting in zero meaningful discussions, likely won’t be embraced with open arms by Fehr and the PA, it’s at least a talking point.

Bettman’s offer, notably featuring a 50-50 split in hockey related revenue – is there a truer definition of a partnership than 50-50? – and a full-season of 82 games with a Nov. 2 start (I don’t see it getting done that fast), will take some massaging to get the PA to capitulate, but there seems to be a willingness to talk now. That’s the good news.

The bad news, speaking of dick measuring, is today’s word that Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz has no intention of appearing before city council to meet the Oct. 17 deadline imposed by mayor Stephen Mandel – Katz made that clear in a letter today, leaving the mayor and councilors to follow up on what was basically a "meet with us or else" edict.

I imagine we’ll find out the "or else" in the next few days – hands up fans willing to let Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins blow town in the hope what’s left of the Phoenix/Florida/Columbus roster will move here after the city builds an arena on its own — but that’s a whole other item.


"From what I read on twitter I think it’s a good sign," Oiler captain Shawn Horcoff told Jim Matheson of The Journal when discussing the proposal put forth today.

"It’s a start. I really think it’s their (owners) first real showing of interest in getting a deal done. The chances of us taking this one right now and signing off on it is pretty unlikely…that’s not the way it works, but hopefully it’s the grounds for a counter-proposal and more talk on the issues."

At this point, meaningful negotiation and grounds for a counter-proposal by the NHLPA is about the best fans can ask for. At the very least, today’s news provides a shred of hope, even if talk of a Nov. 2 start and a full schedule seems optimistic in the extreme, after weeks when there’s been very little.

I was busy slapping in windshields in my shop today and hadn’t taken a glance at my phone or the internet when I got an e-mail from a staunch Oilers fan I know. "Hockey is back (maybe)," he wrote, which got my attention.

The return the NHL remains a very big "maybe" and there’s still an awful lot of negotiating to do, but today’s CBA news seemed a ray of light compared to what we’re hearing on the downtown arena front.

Talk is good, even if it’s cheap. No talk? Not so much.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Katz and the city representatives came back from NYC with a partial deal brokered depending on a few stipulations.

    As I understand it, it’s not Katz that’s playing hard ball it’s the city, which again, from what I understand took a couple of key issues off the table as well as the 15 others issues mentioned by Katz. The two big ones are Northlands becoming involved again, and the maintenance fee that was agreed upon in NYC.

    Having said that, I’m not sitting here day dreaming that Katz or city council doesn’t have a steak in making money off this deal, If Bettman can help turn this around and help broker this deal then so be it.

    As for the Katz bashers, think of what it would cost the city to build the arena themselves? Or if Katz does decide to move the team.

    Why isn’t anybody freaking out this bad over a 350 million dollar museum that’s completely funded by tax payers that maybe will see a couple thousand people per year and contributes one tenth the revenue this project will?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Lol, the arrogance of Daryl Katz biting him in the arse. His i don’t negotiate in public policy has doomed this deal. If only he owned all of that 2.4 billion dollar net worth thought to be had, he could have really built the building that Daryl built.

    Just as well the City found out in time he was only looking out for himself, revitalising the downtown core was furthest from his mind. Only in Edmonton would one think this one facility would “fix” the downtowns issues.

    ML Gardens and The Forum in Montreal lasted 75+ years each. How can the re-furbished Coliseum be toast after only 35 yrs? Perhaps it’s time to do what Winnipeg did, set the Oilers free, if they come back, they’re truely Edmontons. Maybe it’s time to focus on what we do have here now instead of what we don’t have. This is a town of only 1.1 million afterall.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It business as usual for fans ,they still go to work and collect their bag of peanuts every two weeks,we all knew it was a matter of time before the real money makers decided to stop squeezing us,really at the end of the day they could just offer fans a voluntary ticket hike option and save us all the trouble because we will only see the results of this fiasco emerge through more money from the backbones–the fans.All in all,very nice to see them moving along.

    The Katz issue is over with,let sleeping dogs be,and leave him and Mandell alone so they can get this done,enough character assasination already,our paycheques arent sitting on the table here ,theirs are,the honey-moon is over,so is the first arguement,its time to make hay,or whatever.We will all keep picking up our bag of peanuts on payday no matter what happens or when it happens.Now everyone all at once close your eyes tight and whisper out loud,the season can be saved ,the season can be saved,and maybe we can make a difference.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Wow, Katz and his cohorts sure like to write letters! Wouldn’t a reasonable person just picked up the phone, dialed the Mayor, and said, “Sorry Stevie, I a’int coming to your public lynching. But thanks for the invite.”

    Instead Katz again takes the cowardly route and writes a letter! A letter? Really, in this day and age, a letter???

    The path for civility and a private conversation with Mandel was there Darryl! Instead you choose to negotiate like Pocklington.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Aside from not getting a new arena anytime soon, the worst thing to come from this never ending drama is watching Bob Stauffer slowly become a corporate shill. I get it, he’s a Katz employee, and has to take the position of the man who signs his cheques.

    It’s just sad to watch a guy whom I once felt was the most honest and principled sports radio host, compromise his free voice every day.