Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bettman throws down first gauntlet in CBA battle

Thanks to NBC Sports

With labor negotiations heating up, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman echoed the owners’ refusal to play another season under the current CBA.

“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters following Thursday’s meetings.

This statement is significant regarding the agreement’s expiration date — Sept. 15.
NHLPA boss Donald Fehr has stated that Sept. 15 “is not a magic date unless someone wants to make it so.”

“There’s nothing magic about Sept. 15. The law is that if you don’t have a new agreement, and as long as both sides are willing to keep negotiating, you can continue to play under the terms of the old one until you reach an agreement,” he said back in late June. “All I know is that in baseball, there were any number of occasions in which we played while the parties were continuing to negotiate.”

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News pressed the commissioner further on the issue of continuing under the current CBA.

“Asked Bettman if NHL could operate if deal was close — crossing t’s, dotting i’s — on 9/15,” Spector tweeted. “He said if they were close, they’d get it done.”

The owners’ stance on not extending the current bargaining agreement means Sept. 15 is essentially a lockout date.

In other CBA-related news from today:

– Fehr said there’s a “meaningful gulf” between the two sides on revenue sharing.

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