Just as hockey season gets near, the National Hockey League imposed a work stoppage at midnight — marking the the second time in eight years — after the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been warning players all year that the league would them out if they didn’t come to an agreement, and midnight came and went without anyone signing anything, says ESPN.
The NHL Players Association wanted to keep talking Saturday, but the league refused them, said NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr, who had lunch Saturday with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who said the sides are so far apart, it was too late for more talking.
About 300 of the players are gathering in Manhattan for meetings with NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr this week, and Pittsburgh Penguin standout Sidney Crosby voiced his frustration over the work stoppage.
“We’ve shown we’re willing to give, but they’ve got to be willing. It seems like there’s a pretty hard line there, and they’re not willing to budge.”
Crosby and other players have said they’ll go overseas to play if they’re blocked out in the United States, and several players have already reached agreements in Europe. There’s still some time, though. Training camps don’t open until Sept. 21, and the regular season doesn’t start for another month. And on NHL.com, they’re not calling it a work stoppage — but the league says the camps won’t open because an collective bargaining agreement wasn’t reached.
The sides are locked up over the players’ share of hockey revenue. The players want 57 percent, and Bettman says that’s too much. Also, the union doesn’t want the players to take any salary cuts.
The sides last talked on Wednesday. In 2004, the last time there was a lockout, the league and union went for months without negotiations and the whole 2004-05 season was forfeited — so lets hope they learned their lesson that time around.