Friday meeting between NHL and NHLPA no big deal | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaFriday meeting between NHL and NHLPA no big deal

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 03:17 PM

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NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, centre, stands with players (left to right) Steve Montador of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza, Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals as they speak to the press last month. (Chris Young/Canadian Press) NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, centre, stands with players (left to right) Steve Montador of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators' Jason Spezza, Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals as they speak to the press last month. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

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The NHL and NHLPA finally will assemble in New York on Friday to talk about non-economic core issues, but even though any meeting is better than no meeting at all, this get together gives us little reason for optimism that the two sides are making progress.

Even though there are no plans for the NHLPA and NHL to dive into the heart of its stalemate - the core economic issues - the two sides will assemble in New York on Friday, and it is clear any meeting is better than no meeting at all.

These daily updates that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr briefly chatted or talked over lunch had become tedious. All the reports did was simply reaffirm this labour dispute was progressing with the swiftness of a snail.

"We are pleased the league is willing to come back to the bargaining table and we look forward to Friday's discussions," said Steve Fehr.

But before we warn you not to get to excited that the NHL and NHLPA finally have decided to get off their collective duffs and meet for a bargaining session for the first time since Sept. 12, here are some of the non-economic core issues.

Your answer involves matters like:

  • grievances
  • system arbitration
  • on-ice issues
  • off-ice discipline
  • drug testing
  • training camp
  • off-season conditioning camps
  • workers' compensation
  • medical
  • travel
  • pension and insurance
  • scheduling

Not exactly exciting stuff, but in order for a new collective agreement to be signed, sealed and delivered these issues need to be resolved, too.

Don't be surprised if another block of the preseason schedule is cancelled before the end of the week. It is easy to predict that the regular season will not begin on time on Oct. 11. This dispute still has months to travel before it is resolved.

That was reaffirmed earlier this week, when Daly remarked that the NHL was waiting to hear from the NHLPA on a new proposal "in a meaningful way because I don't think that they've really moved off their initial proposal, which was made more than a month ago now."

Lengthy lockout

On the players' side, veteran Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary stated that his side was preparing for a lengthy lockout.

"People don't think it can go a year," he told the Detroit News. "As players, we can. We think it can go longer.

"Just trying to be realistic, I think the league is waiting for us to make a move, and we're waiting for them to move. Someone has to move. But I don't see it coming from our end.

"We've given them a couple of good options that they can work with. They obviously feel it is not enough.

"We're at a stalemate, I guess you could say."

Meanwhile, more players have agreed to play in Europe. The count is at about 75 who are either already there performing or are bound for Europe. AHL training camps also begin later this week for some NHLers like the Edmonton Oilers young duo Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

In Quebec, Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot has organized the Tournee des Jouers, weekly exhibition games in communities around the province that will raise money for charity. In the last lockout, a similar tour organized by former NHLer Joel Bouchard raised more than $800,000.

Talbot hopes to hold two games a week, usually on Thursday and Friday, and will begin with a game in Chateauguay on Thursday.

Several Montreal Canadiens plan to be part of the group, including Habs captain Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, David Desharnais, Colby Armstrong and maybe goalie Carey Price. Others include: Steve Begin, Danny Briere, Alex Burrows, Mathieu Darche, Marc-Andre Fleury, Simon Gagne, Guillaume Latendresse, Kris Letang, David Perron and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

So really, with the news of the Friday meeting in New York, has anything shifted to make us to become more optimistic? Nope.

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