What became oh-so clear yesterday when NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr’s Tuesday night letter to his players got out, the union was not satisfied with the NHL’s Tuesday proposal and made that abundantly clear when Fehr and 18 players met today with the league.
The meeting lasted one hour with the NHL rejecting three proposals that Commissioner Gary Bettman said didn’t “even begin to approach 50-50" and were just variations of the union's original proposals.
Bettman, according to media snippets on Twitter, told reporters on the scene that the two sides are speaking different languages, that today was a “step backward” and he doesn’t know what the next step will be.
“I am to say the least totally disappointed,” Bettman said. “We are nowhere close.”
He said canceling games will have to occur soon and that may include the Winter Classic. Frankly, that revenue stream is starting to evaporate because title sponsors like Bridgestone are not investing the money to advertise. HBO’s 24/7 needs to get up and rolling, and the NHL’s not ready to spend the money needed to promote the game without actual regular-season games taking place.
That’s coming from me, not Bettman.
Eighteen players were at the meeting. Four owners were at the meeting, including the Wild’s Craig Leipold.
More later. The PA has not addressed the media yet and the players have reportedly a conference call with Fehr at 4 p.m., but it appears as if Fehr’s about to lead the players down the plank of no paychecks and both sides are about to lead the fans down the plank of no hockey.
"I wish I had better news," Bettman said.
Don't we all.