Fehr doesn't see 'path to agreement' in NHL talks

916373.jpg

Fehr doesn't see 'path to agreement' in NHL talks

Its eminently fair to ask what exactly the NHL and NHLPA are trying to prove at this point.

Both sides met for an hour on Sunday to discuss player contract rights and smacked head-long into a wall after a long week of discussions. Both NHLPA Exec Director Donald Fehr and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly admitted the two sides were gaining ground on the big issue of splitting Hockey Related Revenue (HRR), but said the league isnt going to budge on their player rights demands.

That led Fehr to pessimistically tell reporters that he doesnt see a path to an agreement given the tenor of negotiations.

Those are the same player contract rights (eight years of service or 28 years old until unrestricted free agency, reduction in arbitration rights, five year contract term limits, considerable change to the entry-level deals and limiting year-to-year salary variance to five percent) that the NHL has whispered to members of the media that they would have flexibility on all along.

Instead the NHL appears willing to cancel more games and further cannibalize their record-breaking business so they can limit players to five-year deals. This is the same group of NHL owners that were giving thumbs up on signing players like Tyler Seguin to six-year contracts immediately prior to the Sept. 15 lockout.

Take a bow for your stunning new level of hypocrisy, Jeremy Jacobs. Now thats really saying something.

The league-approved media messengers have said all along that the only player contract demand that was non-negotiable was the five percent variance on player contracts to limit the back-diving deals designed to circumvent the salary cap. But thats not how its played out in face-to-face negotiations as those around the NHL started to get their hopes up.

Daly reiterated after Sundays face-to-face meeting that the NHL owners werent willing to budge on the seemingly minor player contract rights, and were willing to go to the wall on it.

These issues are very, very important to the clubs, said Daly to NHL.com. If we were hearing from the clubs, Geez, dont let these player contracting issues get in the way of a deal. Lets get a deal done and get the players back on the ice, then thats what we would be saying at the bargaining table, but thats not what were hearing from our clubs.

So there you have it.

The NHL owners have told Gary Bettman and Daly to draw the line in the sand on player contracts, and theres no budging them despite the window beginning to slam shut on a Dec. 1 start to the regular season. The players are still wondering whats in it for them as theyre taking a drastic pay reduction from the last CBA, and potentially facing much more limited options in controlling the fate of their individual careers.

Players have two interests here, said Fehr. Interest No. 1 is how big the share is and thats not agreed upon yet either, but the parties have at least moved on that. The second one is how does an individual player negotiate his piece of the pie? The answer is players will have vastly fewer rights, vastly less leverage for vastly longer portion of their career under the NHL proposal.

The NHL and NHLPA need to get an agreement done this upcoming week if they hope to have training camp begin after Thanksgiving for a Dec. 1 start season opener. That means there needs to be give and take on both sides. Otherwise the earliest start to the NHL season well be looking at his Jan. 1 with a date for the obliteration of the 2012-13 season slowly crawling onto the horizon.

Perhaps this is just one final showdown between the league and the players before they eventually lock down a deal.

The two sides arent there yet, of course, as they hit this most recent stalemate in negotiations. But total regular season oblivion could come up much quicker than people realize if somebody doesnt learn the meaning of the CBA vocabulary word compromise, and learn it very quickly.

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

BOSTON – You hear coaches and players often refer to the NBA as a make-miss league.

When summing up what happened in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sadly it was that simple.

Dennis Schroder led the six double-figure scorers for the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting.

Boston got many of the shots that they have been getting throughout this run in which they came into Monday’s game having won 11 of their previous 14 games.

The Celtics (38-22) have now lost three of their last four games. Life won’t get any easier for them with defending NBA champion Cleveland coming into town on Wednesday.

We have seen the Celtics make some miraculous comebacks under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, but Celtics fans understandably began hitting the exits with more than three minutes to play and Boston looking up at a 108-84 deficit.

Credit the Hawks defense which played with a greater sense of urgency, the kind you would expect from a team that had come in riding a three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, Boston looked like the team that we have seen most of this season which relies heavily on their perimeter shooting to win games.

That’s not all that surprising against the Hawks whose interior defense is anchored by Dwight Howard.

Howard, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds, also had a pair of blocked shots and altered many others.

But the Celtics spent a good chunk of the second half with Howard out of the game.

Howard, an absolute unstoppable force for the Hawks all game, picked up his second technical foul (an automatic ejection) for hanging on the rim following a put-back dunk with 4:03 to play in the third and Atlanta ahead 74-65.

He had picked up his first technical foul for shoving Al Horford earlier in the game.

But with Howard out, the Celtics still couldn’t take advantage of an Atlanta team that was much more vulnerable to dribble-drive penetration.

In fact, Atlanta began to pull away and took their biggest lead up to that point of the game, 84-69, following a 3-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. late in the third quarter which ended with the Hawks ahead 84-71.

And Boston’s struggles stemmed from their inability to make open shots.

For the game, the Celtics shot 39.1 percent from field which is a somewhat inflated figure considering the mini-run Boston's backups went on in the final minute or two of play.

Not even the usual high-scoring exploits of Isaiah Thomas could save the day.

The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, Thomas had another sub-par night in the game’s final quarter of play.

He led the Celtics with 19 points, but only two came in the fourth quarter. And by failing to reach 20 points, Thomas’ franchise-record of consecutive games with 20 or more comes to an end at 43 straight.  

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

The Kevin Shattenkirk-to-Bruins rumblings are done for the remainder of the season.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch is reporting that the Blues have traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals.

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the “main parts” the Blues will receive in the deal are 2017 first-rounder, a second-rounder in 2018 and Zach Sanford 

More to come. . .