The NHLPA and the owners met again today, without the usual barriers of Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. As the lockout has been ongoing for almost 90 days, its tough to believe that Bettman and Fehr’s bad cop act is in fact that, an act. But if a deal is resolved soon their routine may have been just the antagonists to push the two opposing sides together to agree on a deal. It would be despite them, but it would be done.
Yahoo Sports writer Nick Cotsonika tweeted after both sides ended Wednesday’s meeting around 1am ET
Filed column. Will be posted eventually. Bottom line to me: We’re going to have a season, but that doesn’t mean closing deal will be easy.
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) December 6, 2012
“We’re going to have a season.” That is absolutely the most optimistic viewpoint that has come out of these meetings to this point. And after both sides met well into the night, and are agreeing to meet again tomorrow, it may mean there is a season on our hands.
Reportedly the players want about $380 million of the Make Whole plan of hockey related revenue. But today the owners offered $300 million, which is up from the $211 million they offered two weeks ago. While it’s a long way off, it could be close enough to get a deal done. But TSN’s Bob McKenzie maintains that’s not what the players will really like
What the NHLPA will like about NHL offer: status quo on UFA and salary arbitration.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 6, 2012
Apart from the overall split of revenue, Unrestricted free agency and salary arbitration were the two big changes that were sticking for the players. The league dropped most of those changes in this current deal.
The owners are in relative agreement on the opposite side of the table from the players, but no one on that side of the table wants to get back on the ice more badly than Kings management. Forget the fans, of course they want the players back on the ice either way. But Luc Robitaille wants to raise that banner, sell more T-Shirts, and defend the Cup. Los Angeles is a desert, yet it has a hockey team that is the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. LA has had great a great core group of hockey fans, but it’s hardly been a hockey town. AEG desperately want a deal to be done so that the organization can try and re-capture all of the fan momentum and support they built on their torrid stretch toward the Stanley Cup.
It really looked unlikely that the ultimate work blocker Gary Bettman was going to get the job done. He almost insured an off-season of tee times and NFL and NBA highlights. But this is the first time it looks like the players will actually take the ice.