*Cue sad music from Arrested Development*

Well, that was pretty much the opposite of a birthday wish.

In case you missed all the fun tonight, People Who Know More Than MeTM are here with a recap.

How it began:

But then:

It gets better:

And then The Bett Man came roaring in:


And in case you were wondering:


Furthermore, here’s a statement from one of the guys who was supposedly behind all this progress – Pittsburgh Penguins’ owner Ron Burkle

The idea to put players and owners together in the same room was a
refreshing idea. Commissioner Bettman should be thanked for proposing it
and the Fehrs should be thanked for agreeing to it.

The players came with a strong desire to get back to playing hockey.
They were professional and did a good job of expressing their concerns and
listening to ours.

We wanted to move quickly and decisively. We have all spent too much
time without any real progress at the expense of our fans, our sponsor and
the communities we serve. It was time to make bold moves and get a deal.
Many people think we got over our skis and they are probably right, but we
wanted to do everything we could to get back to hockey now. We didn’t hold

We made substantial movement on our end quickly, but unfortunately
that was not met with the same level of movement from the other side. The
players asked us to be patient and keep working with them. It’s not what
they do and they wanted us to know they were committed. We understood and
appreciated their situation. We came back with an aggressive commitment to
pensions which we felt was well received. We needed a response on key items
that were important to us, but we were optimistic that we were down to very
few issues. I believe a deal was within reach.

We were therefore surprised when the Fehrs made a unilateral and
“non-negotiable” decision – which is their right, to end the player/owner
process that has moved us farther in two days than we moved at any time in
the past months.

I want to thank the players involved for their hard work as we tried
to reach a deal.

I hope that going backwards does not prevent a deal.

So, yeah, we just went from, “we’re close to a deal,” to, “there is no deal, oh my God, why can’t I stop shaking,” so quickly, it almost felt like this much progress should have been made three months ago. After instilling so much hope in fans to begin the evening (I actually smiled while going to get dinner), two men at a #Podium dashed those hopes entirely.

Now, it’s totally possible that this was all as much a PR move as everything else we’ve seen so far in negotiations but I honestly can’t tell. Tonight was absolutely amazing from a “what the hell is happening” standpoint. It wasn’t as amazing from an “I like the NHL” standpoint. If you want my opinion (and I know you’re all dying for it), I think Fehr pissed off the owners, and Bettman especially, by painting himself and the players entirely as the good guys and that their concessions are what has moved this process forward. I’d like to believe that the two sides are actually closer to a deal than Bettman would have you think, and Burkle’s statement kind of supports that, but the owners want to “win” this on their terms and want to come out of this whole mess seeming like the “good guys.” Or everything went completely to shit tonight and we, as fans, are screwed.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that, while all this was going on, NHL.com’s Dave Lozo had more important things on his mind.

Preach on, Dave. Preach on.

Comments (26)

  1. Is it bad that I’m almost 100% on the owners side here? I mean maybe when more details come out things will change but right now it seems like they genuinely are trying to get something done.

    I dunno. Just so tired of it.

    • I honestly can’t even process what side I’m on at that point. Screw them all.

      • Agree with Jake. Screw em both. I wish media people would be a bit tougher on both sides though. Just attack both sides for being complete and utter pieces of shit. You already have your millions, we just want our hockey.

  2. The Score: what score…all you sports shows are the same…no deal..all deals off the table..here’s a thought:…put Bettmen and Fher ( Don) in a ring and fight for 8 months..after the final bell rings…whos the winner..no one….the winner here are the great fans of the NHL because no matter what we will keep coming back at any cost….even it means 2 years not watching or hearing of any games…..losers are the owners and players…not the fans….ever

  3. Totally leaning towards the owners side right now. I feel as though the owners are pushing to get a deal done and the players are being manipulated by Donald Fehr to hold out for a better deal that may not even be there.

    • Totally agree. It sounds like they tried to get every last thing they could out of the owners and ended up screwing it all up.

    • Yeah……..if only they hadn’t started this whole mess….poor fellas are really trying to get out of it.

  4. If at first you don’t succeeded, try try again. In other words they need to get their asses back in those rooms and come to an agreement.

  5. If the owners have a problem with long contracts…..why don’t they agree with the players terms on long contracts and then quietly agree amongst themselves not to sign players longer than 5 years? Or do they not know the meaning of self control?

    And revenue sharing going from 43-57 to 50-50……isn’t that enough victory for the owners?

    You have to wonder how many teams will fold if there is no season……even here in Canada a lot of fans appear to have had enough. I can’t imagine how bad things will be in Tennessee or Florida.

    • “If the owners have a problem with long contracts…..why don’t they agree with the players terms on long contracts and then quietly agree amongst themselves not to sign players longer than 5 years? Or do they not know the meaning of self control?”

      Because it’s illegal. And not just sort of illegal. Super, incredible, cost them tens, if not hundreds of millions in damages from an anti-trust court illegal..

    • Like larry said, it’s illegal. Also, eventually one owner would offer a longer contract than someone else to get a big name free agent and then that would become the standard for players of that caliber. Basically it’s no different from the current system which produced such gems as the Leino and Wisniewski contracts.

      • ahh…..good point. collusion. Never thought of that in terms of contract lengths but it makes sense.

  6. I dont’ like Bettman. But what kind of message does it send to the owners when the players hire a guy like Fehr. I mean the guy was responsible for the World Series being canceled for the first time since 1904. Go ask poor Expo fans what they think of old Don. We finally get the owners and players together and make some real progress, only to have Bettman and Fehr return, and magically meetings break down. What a load of crap.

    • I’m not being snide, but the answer to the question “…what kind of message does it send to the owners when the players hire a guy like Fehr(?)” is this: It says that the players were not going to be led into a gunfight with a pair of tweezers like they were in 94/95 and 04/05.

      To be clear, I blame both sides for this mess. However when the owners repeatedly lock the players out, getting what they want each time, I have a hard time blaming the players for a) hiring a bulldog to lead them and b) demanding their contracts to be honored in full at a time when the business is growing, not declining.

      • Goodenow made friggin veal of the BoG in 94-95 and created an agreement that swelled player comp from something like 30% of league revenue to 74% of league revenue by the time the owners got the courage up to fight him again. The real dollar increase in compensation was even more staggering, considering the league grew on top of that.

        From where I’m sitting, Fehr has done the exact opposite. He’s mistaken maximizing the owners’ costs for maximizing the players’ money. Sure this deal required more ‘giving’ from the owners, but the amount the players take is smaller because half the liquor in the bottle evaporated.

        The highest dollar value deal for the players came and went in the middle of October. That he thinks a lower money offer now is a more acceptable deal than a higher money offer then is a pox from him to the people he represents.

        So, if Fehr’s a gun, he backfired badly. I’ll take my chances fighting the other guy with tweezers if the gun’s just going to blow up in my hand and gutshot me with the bullet fragments.

      • I blame both sides as well. But at the start of this process I was on the players side. Not anymore. It may be PR but it seems like Fehr is turning the PA into a joke with his ridiculous negotiating tactics. The owners it seemed were divided before. Fehr has only galvanized and united them with his antics. Doesn’t seem like his gun is working too well. This doesn’t bode well for the players or hockey this year.

        • Here’s a ridiculous negotiation tactic: Brinkmanship. The time for give and take is over. God, why doesn’t the PA just play nice with the bully.

    • What message? Hmm. Maybe, don’t fuck with us….again….

      • Yeah. The players sure got shafted by the last CBA. That 57%-43% was way worse than all the other big leagues. It’s not like the NHL product got better and there was finally some league parity or anything. Making millions of dollars for playing hockey must blow. I think the fans are actually the ones getting “fucked”. If not for Fehr negotiations would have begun last year, not in July.

  7. If we lose the season, but Bettman gets fired, I’d almost call that a win. (Except for the damage a lost season will cause…so not really)

    So sick of all this…and yet I can’t walk away. I still care too much about this game and my team.

  8. It’s pretty nuts how quickly people flip flop from one side to the next all based on conferences called by either side of this process. We’re being messed with here folks. At this point I don’t trust the leaders of either side to say anything of face value as they posture using the media, attempting to gain leverage on one another. All of a sudden you read statements from owners and just automatically believe them. It’s ridiculous.

    Read Tanenbaum’s statement from two days ago. Now look at his actions over the last day. Re-read today’s statement. He said he’d be sitting in that room until there was a deal. The players attempted to negotiate because let’s face it – these are supposed to be negotiations – and all of a sudden Larry changes his tune, acts like someone’s slapped him in the face and leaves negotiations. And somehow he’s to be believed?

    In all honesty I’m surprised there hasn’t yet been a petition circulated asking for the resignation of Gary Bettman. Everything else aside – and it’s a lot I know – look at how many games have been lost during his tenure. While I realize he’s not solely to blame, it must be admitted that the loss of these games – the damage done to the business and the game – speaks volumes about just how grossly incompetent his he’s been.

    Fire Bettman… so there’s that.

  9. I hate both Bettman and Fehr with a passion, but I think I hate Fehr more. I think the owners know the path Bettman takes them down, but I don’t think the players understand fully how much of a fucking douchebag Fehr is.

  10. Its always comical to hear the each side blame the other for talks breaking off. If you believed either one of them you’re crazy.

    Egos and lawyers have robbed us of yet another season because these dummies can’t agree on how to split $4B.

    At this point they’ll never agree – because its not enough to get a good deal – now they need to fleece the other side – so its little wonder that nothing has changed in 3 months. I don’t want to see a sham season anyway so see you next Cctober.

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