"We were on a break"

The NHL and the NHLPA have reached somewhat of an impasse in their CBA negotiations (again), so the heads of both sides did the logical thing in a situation like that: they got on the phone. Now, since we’re talking logical, guess how they decided to “un-stick” the process. Did they:

A) Talk through the issues on the phone

B) Decide to hold an informal meeting to try to find their direction

C) Organize more formal talks

D) Finally decide to use a mediator, or

E) Decide discussing the new CBA is stupid and for jerks and things will fix themselves if they just take two weeks off talking entirely?

I think you know the answer.

In fairness to Donald Fehr, when he called Bettman to express that he still wasn’t sure how to fix the current jam, it was the NHL boss who suggested the hiatus: let’s take a two week break. Maybe things will fix themselves in that time?

Fehr is taking Bettman’s proposal to the union, so feel free to note that that means the current discussions involve discussing whether or not they should discuss things. Discuss.

Let’s dissect the quotes (as first seen from The Canadian Press) from the #2′s on each side about the situation. First up, Bill Daly:

“We are extremely disappointed in where we and the players find ourselves.

You’re not alone.

And from our perspective, we have made repeated moves in the players’ direction with absolutely no reciprocation.

Repeated moves in the players’ directions? How can that be said with a straight face?

Owners: “We’d like to give you no percent of the revenue.”

Players: “Pass.”

Owners: “15%?”

Players: “No.”

Owners: “GOD, WE’RE MOVING HUGE PERCENTAGES IN YOUR DIRECTION, WHY ARE YOU BEING SO STUBBORN.”

Just as a quick reminder, the Players latest offer was to accept less than they were receiving under the last CBA, meaning they’re the ones offering to move in the owners’ direction. And as another reminder, the majority of the owners did just fine under that deal.

Unfortunately, we have determined we are involved with union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement.

Nope. They just want to keep on not playing and not earning money and not having a chance at the Stanley Cup. No genuine interest. They’re loving this unemployed shit.

Regardless of what we propose, or how we suggest to compromise the answer is “no.”

Owners: “30%?”

Players: “No. Can we get serious here soon?”

Owners: “SO. STUBBORN.”

At some point you just have to say “enough is enough.” But I’m more discouraged now than I have been at any point in the process.”

Aw, your poor feelings. We feel terrible.

What did Steve Fehr have to say?

“We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t.

Revolutionary.

So we are ready to meet.

Good. No break then?

If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions.

“Pre-condition: we demand ample quantities of lox at all meetings. Bill Daly barely even gotta any last time, you guys.”

What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this?”

That they would prefer to, but want to milk as much money out of the players as feasibly possible, and they know that pushing the talks closer to another “drop dead date” for the season will increase the pressure on the players, who will have missed more paychecks and started fearing the loss of an entire season more, which most of the owners don’t give a shit about because they’re still going to be just hanging out, being rich. …Am I close?

It’s a pretty transparent suggestion from the owners, from where I’m sitting.

At least now when it’s all said and done and the players return to North America they can justify choosing to play for other clubs by explaining, as Ross did to Rachel “WE WERE ON A BREAK.”

***

UPDATE:

My question: how is it conceivable one side thinks the other is bluffing at this point? You’ll both torch the season if necessary. We know.