Don’t get your hopes up

Counter proposal

Today’s CBA meetings in New York produced some short-lived optimism after it was reported that the NHL owners had presented a counter proposal to the NHL Players’ Association.

Turns out it was just a misunderstanding. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman brought the wrong file to the meetings and accidentally presented Donald Fehr with the quotes for his kitchen reno. Or maybe it wasn’t an accident, and Bettman just wanted to rub it in that he pulled in $8 million last year and is spending it on gold plated cabinet pulls…

Either way, it didn’t make for very productive meetings.

The two sides met for about 45 minutes in the morning session, and after a leisurely four hour lunch got together for another 30 minutes in the afternoon. Likely just so the lawyers on both sides could bill for the full day. But you could tell by the grim look on the Fehr brothers’ faces that there wasn’t to be any kind of fairy tale ending today:

Brothers Grim

That being said, I’m sure there’s some sort of cautionary tale or moral to the story in there somewhere. But at the rate this is going, I’m going to have to milk this whole theme for quite a few more weeks, so maybe I’ll cover it in a future post…

Back to today’s non-happenings.

For his part, Bettman was putting his best spin on the meetings: "…we made a significant, meaningful step…get us on to the same page…get us on to a common language…"

Wait. What was that last one?

You’re seriously telling me they’ve been trying to negotiate this thing in different languages? You gotta be kidding me. Have they noticed how well that’s worked out for Quebec and Canada?

Well, at least they’ve finally realized how big of a stumbling block this is, and how much negotiating in the same language can actually help the things move along at a much quicker pace. At the same time, I sure hope they’ve thought through all the consequences of using a common language, because there might be one hitch to this new development:

Lost in translation

Oh, those Fehrs and their German colloquialisms.

For my part, I want to clearly dissociate myself with this description of Gary Bettman. In no way do I think he looks like a scaly sea creature.

I do, however, think he looks quite a bit like Count von Count from Sesame Street. And I was quite saddened to hear that Jerry Nelson, the long time voice of this lovable Muppet character, passed away last Friday. When the news first came out, I actually thought that it was Bettman that had died, but my initial optimism for the CBA negotiations quickly turned to sadness.

I’ve never felt that way about felt.

But in an effort to ensure you, the loyal reader, avoids any such mistake in the future, I’ve created a handy chart to help you tell the difference between the man who decided that some games are worth 2 points while other games worth 3 points and a blood sucking creature of the night:

Count von Bettman

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I troll over every now and then just to read what you or Tuque might serve up. Thanks, your soup d’jour was tasty.
    BTW I linked your article, on why wealthy NHL owners absolutely need failing small market teams to provide revenue drag, to a number of my colleagues as it was the most insightful piece I have read in quite some time. You absolutely nailed the economics of this farcical calamity, otherwise known as “negotiation”. Eventually the players will capitulate but only after Fehr somehow gets to save face, not get his face slapped like Bobby G got the last time around.
    Thanks for entertaining me.