Both sides of the NHL labor talks are communicating via emails and texts, according to various reports, but there are still no plans for the parties to formally meet as the lockout reached Day 45 on Tuesday.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr granted an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune where he outlined whats been taking place since the NHL pulled their 5050 offer at the end of last week.
The league, on the other hand, has refused all requests to meet. It put talks into a deep freeze after reports indicated that the Winter Classic could be cancelled as soon as the end of this week.
The more things change, the harder it becomes, Fehr said in the interview with the Star-Tribune. Im not going to talk about future contingencies in the event we cant reach an agreement . . . Im not going to discuss what we might do in other proposals down the road.
We gave them three different approaches to have the player share fall over time. Its an eminently reasonable position, and their position seems to be to cut the share immediately, which has the effect of cutting the individual contracts, including ones they just signed a few weeks ago. Youve got to wonder how somebody can look at themselves in the mirror when they do that.
Fehr admitted in the interview that a splintering of the players union is a concern given how many NHL players dont want to miss another season as the league did during the 2004-05 season, but that doesnt mean that hes going to take a bad deal. The league is said to be planning their next move, and seems to be waiting as the heat continues to get dialed up against the out-of-work players.
Meanwhile both sides appear quietly and resolutely headed toward what could be a pivotal week for a negotiation that is trending toward an overwhelmingly negative outcome for both the players and the league. There shouldnt be any other cancellations this week aside from the Winter Classic if that does go on the chopping block, but one has to wonder how much value there is in any season at all if cancelled games move into December without their big outdoor attraction.
Here's a brief letter that NHLPA executive director Don Fehr sent to the leagues 700-plus players, provided by CSNWashington.com The letter reads:
At every opportunity we have continued to state that we are ready to meet and willing to discuss all open issues, including the owners last offer.
Nonetheless, to date, their group has declined to commit to a meeting unless it can dictate what the agenda is. We will update you further as soon as there is anything more to report.