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Trust Bettman?


Guest idahophilly
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The cows in Idaho say "moo-"

So the PR dance continues.

Trust Bettman?

Eric Engels

"If you think the players have a tough time trusting Gary Bettman, what about the informed fans of the National Hockey League?

Though many of us were smart enough to question why neither side came to the table before last season expired, we justified it by believing there was no possible way the league would put itself through another lockout.

We were so wrong. And until Bettman cancelled the first regular season games, there was still room for optimism they'd sense the urgency of the situation and get a deal done.

If you'd have asked me at 8:00 am yesterday if I thought there'd be hockey this year, I'd have said no. As of noon...well... I don't trust Bettman, and never will.

I'm not going to sit here and suggest that yesterday's proposal was anything but a step in the right direction, but excuse me for worrying that Bettman and company are more about public opinion than they ever cared to admit.

And considering how the news of their little focus group experiment was the final PR blow before this turnaround, is it so cynical to believe Bettman just made a solid but refutable proposal, just so he could hammer the players for not getting the 82-game season in swing as of November 2nd?

Let's get something straight. This is where negotiations should've started. Let's not all give Bettman a hockey pat on the butt for tipping in a puck that was on the goal line. Especially considering he started this mess by taking the puck off the goal line and slapping it into the crowd. "

Was it an absolute shocker that the NHL delivered a proposal before continuing to wait for the PA to come back with something radically different? Of course, it was. Makes us all wonder what the hell the NHL was thinking in locking out the players to begin with.

But we can't go backwards, and we can't ignore that the NHL has laid the foundation for what could amount to a resolution here. And we can't help but be optimistic that hockey will be played, whether it starts on November 2nd or not.

But don't sweep caution aside.

How will Bettman react to the NHLPA's counter?

I don't know how readily the NHLPA would accept free agency after eight years, or at 28 years old. It doesn't sound like a major concession, given that it's currently set at seven years/27 years old. But it's significant, considering most hockey players don't make it eight years in the league.

Ditto on five-year contract limits, and on a whole whack of other details that I wouldn't begin to analyse in the way Bob Mckenzie's broken it down over the last 24 hours.

Initial reaction from the PA can be interpreted in the letter Don Fehr sent to the players yesterday, posted on Mckenzie's blog.

When Fehr strikes back, we'll know for sure whether or not the NHL's proposal was an attempt to get hockey back in action, or just another one of Bettman's schemes to gain support. His reaction to Fehr's counter will tell all.

I don't get the sense that the players will refuse a 50-50 split. But I must admit, the ancillary issues are much more important than anyone's suggested they are, and the PA has to ensure that their concession in one place isn't take for granted, considering all the other restrictions the NHL wishes to impose in their proposal.

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@idahophilly This latest offer is just a blatent attempt at a wishy washy salary rollback. I agree with Fehr, if the players accept this, what do they get back....free agency at 25....it has to be something substantial like that. Honestly, after this latest offer, I'm more pessimistic than ever. It's nice they are talking, last time they had months where nothing was discussed at all. At least they are trying to propose stuff....but the salary hit the players will have to take is substantial....the NHL needs to pony up more if they think this is gonna fly.

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There was also language that said they intended to "clarify" HRR.....(Owners)"So basically we will agree to split 50/50 with you but we are also going to change HRR so we get more back anyway......" I would not call this much of a step, it would probably be more accurately termed a Bowel movement.

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@flyerrod This offer is a huge farce. If the NHL thinks they are going to win the PR battle with this tragic offer, well...they have another thing coming. I say it backfires and pushes the media and the fans even further into the NHLPA corner. It sounds like a fair compromise, a 50/50 split, but the new definations of HRR make it a disgusting money grab. The players are fairly compenstated for their efforts, but I see no sane reason why they should take a pay cut (esp on the hells of the 25% 2004 rollback) when the league as a whole grew exponenitally every season since the last lockout. Not really adding anything new, but the owners need to fix their own problems internally and stop trying to rape and pillage the guys who put their life and limb on the line donning their uniforms.

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Thats it in a nut shell! The owners have made the mistakes and want the players to pay for it. The players didn't say put a team in Phoenix or Columbus, ect. They didn't complain either since it was more jobs. I can see the players giving something back to keep those jobs otherwise some teams might very well disappear, not relocate. But the NHL could just as easily relocate them NOW and save the jobs AND fix some big financial problems without massive concessions from the players.

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