*musings & opinions on today’s latest buzz*
1. Following the league filing suit against the players last week, legal ramifications are hovering around CBA talks as a vote of the union’s membership on filing a “disclaimer of interest” will wrap up Friday……….. Players are expected to garner two-third’s of votes to grant authority to disclaim by January 2nd which would allow the NHLPA to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. However, the good news on the NHL lockout front is that I hear a sense of urgency is really starting to develop from the players side as prominent players behind the scenes closely involved in the process are pushing their leaders to re-engage in serious negotiations as early as Sunday. A meeting might be unlikely for this weekend but I’m told despite the Christmas holiday, expectations are serious negotiations will happen at somepoint in the next week, marking the first set of formal negotiations since December 6th. The question is who will actually be negotiating for the NHLPA after they file the anti-trust lawsuit.
2. While a sense of urgency to get back to the bargaining table is emerging for the players behind the scenes, Fehr has the players so brain washed that they would be better off to lose the season than accept a deal centered around the owners previous offer in early December, I heard from some today who feel the NHL might have to be the one’s who will need to budge at the end of the day. I’m in the corner who feel the players are truly crazy to believe that they are better off to sit out the season than take a deal with a 5 year contract term and 10 year CBA, but we shouldn’t be surprised. A lot of these are guys are set for life and many are enjoying playing overseas.
3. NHL officials are now adamant that commissioner Gary Bettman has a hard deadline set that the season must start in the January 15th – January 20th time period, meaning we would have to have see a deal happen around Jan 5-10. “When it gets to the point where we can’t play a season with integrity, with a representative schedule, then we’ll be done,” Bettman said earlier this month. “If you go back in history, in ’94-95 I think we played 48 games. I can’t imagine wanting to play fewer than that.”…… With Bettman letting talks go all the way to mid-February during the 04-05 lockout and proposing a 28 game season, you can’t fault people who have doubts that Bettman will cancel the season in mid-January but the NHL needs to hold firm on the drop-dead date they have established internally..
4. Have to love Hal Gill’s comments today to Preds beat writer Josh Cooper about the latest cancellations of games. “Maybe they are waiting for the Mayan predictions to get them off the hook,” Gill said.
5. What a decision from starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to decline the Pirates surprise 3 year – $27 million offer last off-season. Jackson declined Pittsburgh’s offer and went on to sign a 1 year, $11 million with the Washington Nationals and a year later has now landed a massive 4 year, $52 million contract with the Cubs. A $63 million coup for Jackson.