Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time keeps on slippin'

With four days until the Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire, once again we have been subjected to another round of posturing by the NHL and NHLPA.

Points given to league Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who today decided to work the "good cop" angle by rhapsodizing to the Associated Press in a morning email: "We hoped (and still hope) we can do that without causing any interruption to the upcoming season. Logic would have suggested we would have been able to. Ultimately, we just want to negotiate a fair deal that will give all our clubs an ability to be stable and healthy. The fact that we haven't yet is extremely disappointing, and is a failure for which we both must share blame."

Meanwhile, Canadiens forward Josh Gorges weighed in yesterday with a cold reading of scripted comments that were nothing more than a rehash of previous PA talking points as his organization made its case in front of the Quebec Labor Board, challenging the nature of the union with respect to provincial laws.

"This is an opportunity to show that we want to play and, from the players' standpoint, we want to do everything we can to show the owners and the fans that we want to play," Gorges said. "This is a tactic for us to use to push the owners to allow us to play."

The basis of the case was that the union is not certified, therefore it would be illegal for the Canadiens to lock out their players, enabling them to be paid during a work stoppage. There is another action taking place in Alberta under similar logic, intended to aid the causes of the Flames and Oilers.

Daly struck back, saying late last night: "The filings are intended to interfere with the broader labor negotiating process. They will have absolutely zero impact on the broader negotiation, or on the deal we ultimately agree on."

So what do we have to hang our hopes on as representatives from both sides meet again in New York City to try and salvage the situation?

The fact that there is expected to be between 250-300 players gathering on the side of the Players' Association -- as if a mass showing of solidarity will suddenly cause the owners to crumble. And late word from RDS of Canada, which said Daly may be the recipient of a new offer from the players at some point either later today or before Wednesday's scheduled session.

When he learned of the newest gambit, Daly added: "I was encouraged by the players' first offer. But it was made on August 14th and they did not move since." 

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