NHL makes offer that the NHLPA is not supposed to refuse. NHLPA refuses. Counteroffers by NHLPA also refused. No talking. No negotiating. Self-imposed deadline passes. Cancel games.
Like the shampoo instructions, rinse and repeat. Eventually all the games for the 2012-2013 season will be washed away clean.
The NHL had a deadline of October 24 for their most recent offer to the players. In their minds, that was the drop dead date for an agreement to be in place that would ensure they could still finagle a full season. After talks between both sides rapidly disintegrated and disappeared altogether, there was no surprise that the deadline came and went.
So the NHL did what it had to do. Cancel all the November games.
"The NHL deeply regrets having to take this action," was the sentiment expressed by Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "By presenting a proposal to the NHLPA that contemplated a fair division of revenues and was responsive to Player concerns regarding the value of their contracts, we had hoped to be able to forge a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have preserved an 82-game Regular Season for our fans. Unfortunately, that did not occur."
"We acknowledge and accept that there is joint responsibility in collective bargaining and, though we are profoundly disappointed that a new agreement has not been attained to this point, we remain committed to achieving an agreement that is fair for the Players and the Clubs -- one that will be good for the game and our fans."
Next up will be canceling the Winter Classic on January 1. Sounds like a long way off, but major steps have to be taken and commitments made by the middle of November. No agreement, no commitment. No commitment, no game.
And if you think either side is close to coming to an agreement, you just have to look at NHLPA Executive Director, Donald Fehr's statement.
"The league officially informed us today that they have withdrawn their latest proposal and have cancelled another slate of regular season games. This is deeply disappointing for all hockey fans and everyone who makes their living from hockey, including the players. But it comes as no surprise.
Last week the owners gave us what amounts to a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposal. We responded with the framework for three proposals on the players' share, each of which moved significantly, towards their stated desire for a 50-50 split of HRR, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed. Honouring contracts signed between owners and players is a reasonable request. Unfortunately, after considering them for only 10 minutes they rejected all of our proposals.
Since then, we have repeatedly advised the owners that the players are prepared to sit down and negotiate on any day, with no pre-conditions. The owners refused. They apparently are only interested in meeting if we first agree to everything in their last offer, except for perhaps a few minor tweaks and discussion of their "make whole" provision.
The message from the owners seems to be: if you don't give us exactly what we want, there is no point in talking. They have shown they are very good at delivering deadlines and demands, but we need a willing partner to negotiate. We hope they return to the table in order to get the players back on the ice soon."
A few days ago, it was announced that the New York Islanders would be leaving Nassau Coliseum when their lease is up in 2015. They will be moving to Brooklyn for the 2015-2016 season.
Maybe by then both the NHL and the NHLPA will have their heads out of their nether regions and will actually have a CBA in place by then. Until then, don't be shocked when there are more cancellations and further expressions of dismay by both stubborn sides in this battle.