CBA negotiations stall after two-hour meeting Tuesday
NEW YORK -- National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly used the term "no progress" to describe the nearly two-hour negotiating session between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Association on Tuesday.
"Today wasn't overly encouraging, that's for sure," Daly said after the latest meeting toward establishing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. "I think it goes back to us really tackling the main issues that are at issue in this negotiation and seeing if we have some traction toward some middle ground.
"We're looking for a long-term deal that's fair for the players, fair for the teams and good for the fans. That's what we want out of this negotiation and we need a negotiating partner to get there."
Daly said the business has already suffered $100 million in losses after the cancellation of all preseason games. Daly said both sides have suffered the loss and the money will not be recouped.
He added that the League is close to making a decision on the future of the early regular-season games. Opening night of the 2012-13 regular season is Oct. 11.
"It's something we obviously have to focus on in the short term and make an appropriate decision in the appropriate time," Daly said Tuesday when asked about status of the regular-season schedule. "We're still focused on doing what we can to minimize the damage."
In his remarks Tuesday, Daly said no further negotiating meetings are scheduled. NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr did not attend the Tuesday session at the League office and spoke to reporters from the NHLPA office after the negotiations finished for the day.
NHLPA Counsel Steve Fehr was the Union's lead negotiator in the session Tuesday.
"From our standpoint you ought to be continually talking, even if you are disagreeing and not making progress, because you never know when somebody is going to say something that's going to spark an idea that will allow you to make progress," Don Fehr said. "If you're not doing well on subject A and subjects B, C, D and E need to be talked about, sooner or later we ought to be talking about those things. Even if you don't reach resolution on those things, hopefully we push them along."
Don Fehr also said he is having regular conversations with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The meeting Tuesday was a continuation of the discussion the sides had Saturday about how to reach a level of certainty on the interpretation of hockey-related revenue (HRR) definitions. Daly said the NHLPA did not want to negotiate on that issue, for the most part, until the sides reach agreement on the critical economic issues.
"Obviously, with respect to some issues, they don't want to codify the current treatment and with other issues, they're basically telling us wait until we have a deal or we negotiate a deal and we'll handle this in that context," Daly said.
Fehr said the HRR definitional issues and the critical economic issue of how to divide HRR should be separate matters.
"But, if we can solve the core economic issues I would like to believe we'd be able to resolve those [HRR definitional issues]," Fehr said.
Daly said the League has a federal mediator in Washington that would be willing to step in, but he doesn't believe the negotiations have reached that stage because the sides have been communicating regularly.
"They understand what our position is," Daly said. "To this point we certainly understand what their position is. We just wish it was different.
"Certainly we're trying to be as creative as we can be and we want to think of ways to approach the issue," Daly added. "But, unless and until we hear from them and they make some movement or show some willingness to compromise I'm not sure how we get this done."