NHL labor talks gain traction after secret meeting

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NHL labor talks gain traction after secret meeting

The welcomed term traction has finally become a buzzword in the CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA this weekend. The second-in-commands for both the NHLPA, lead counsel Steve Fehr, and the NHL, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, met at an undisclosed location on Saturday into the wee hours of Sunday, and both sounded hopeful tones after the meeting was over.

That it happened just 24 hours after the league cancelled the Winter Classic was a curious case of timing.

The long face-to-face exchange of ideas should lead to more bargaining sessions, and could be the first step toward a new deal that could save the season. Daly sounded optimistic on Sunday morning, but in true secretive fashion neither side was willing to share much of what was discussed during the long Saturday night meeting.

We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us, said Daly after it was over.

Fehr echoed Dalys sentiments on Sunday morning, but there was a sign much more encouraging than the curt statements from both high-level execs. The fact that none of their discussions have leaked into the media shows two sides that are looking to make a deal rather than win the next round in a prolonged PR battle.

"I agree with what Bill said," said Fehr in a separate statement. "Hopefully we can continue the dialogue, expand the group, and make steady progress."

While both sides have already essentially agreed that Hockey Related Revenue will drop to a 5050 split between the league and the players, the rapidity of reaching the even split is still believed to be a sticking point. But perhaps the biggest subject of discussion between the two sides is the make whole provision offered by the NHL in their last proposal.

The make whole agreement would guarantee that players will receive all of the money owed to them in contracts signed prior to the CBA expiration, but the original offer essentially boiled down to players-paying-players in deferred installments over time. Its believed the two sides are now discussing NHL ownership funding a portion of the make whole provision, and both sides perhaps agreeing to an escrow cap that will limit the money taken from players.

Its the kind of topic that only an economics major would dream about discussing, but it also might be the key to new CBA getting hammered out in the next few weeks. Right now its just a nice beginning to the process, but an agreement in the coming weeks could pave the way for a shortened 64-game season along with a full complement of Stanley Cup playoffs.
The NHL and the players will look to make more positive steps next week, and hopefully expand the process toward an agreement.

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.