As talks collapse, Penguins owner Ron Burkle hopes “going backwards does not prevent a deal”

CBA talks have collapsed after the players rejected the owners yes or no offer, instead making a counter proposal centered around an 8 year CBA term (6 year opt) and 8 year contract limit. As expected the league quickly rejected the players offer and the rejection happened so quickly it was during Don Fehr’s press conference where he tried to say the two sides were close to an agreement in what looked like a PR move after earlier in the day asking for mediators to be involved. About an hour later, Gary Bettman returned to the podium and made it clear the two sides are not close to a deal, in what was an emotional press conference from Bettman.
Penguins owner Ron Burkle along with owners Jeff Vinik, Mark Chipman and Larry Tanenbaum who joined talks this week, released statements minutes ago on the disappointment of the two sides not reaching a deal.

“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 sponsors 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 appreciate 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 have 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.”
The comments from owners Jeff Vinik of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mark Chipman of the Winnipeg Jets and Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Maple Leafs can be read here at

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William DePaoli

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William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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