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.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
"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.