Negotiations to potentially end the NHL lockout have gone sour recently, to say the least. After a generally productive week of negotiations ended on a low note, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that he has never felt as discouraged during the process as he does now. The league has also returned to its stand of not wanting to really meet with the NHLPA unless the players’ union makes a substantial new offer. Two youthful superstars, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby, are both considering going to play in Europe. There are even rumors of a new deadline for a deal to be in place or else the first half of December’s games could go by the wayside.
So now’s a good time to possibly take a week or two off from negotiating, right?
That’s a new possibility according to Aaron Ward and Katie Strang, who both reported that commissioner Gary Bettman floated the idea to Don Fehr of taking up to a full fortnight off from negotiating, referring to it as a moratorium. Fehr said he wanted to consult the members of the union about it and will provide an answer tomorrow.
I don’t think it’s necessary to sleep on this one, really. I do understand possibly taking a few days off next week so the Americans among the two sides–or even Canadians who just want a day or two’s breathing room–can celebrate Thanksgiving. (Of course, were the November games still happening, there would be a game scheduled for Black Friday.)
However, when things seem more urgent than ever, that’s not the time to decide to take up to two weeks off from doing the most important thing they should be doing right now.
This probably won’t go over well with NHL players, who generally are feeling disrespected by the whole process. Consider how many players refer to Bettman as “Gary” in their quotes and on Twitter instead of calling him the respective forms “Mr. Bettman” or “Mr. Commissioner.”
The idea that, just after losing their third paycheck to the lockout, the players would be willing to take up to a fortnight away from the bargaining table will probably be as popular as that weird cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table that still looks like the can from which it came.
Get back to the bargaining table, Gary and Don and all the rest. Negotiating is tough work, but it has to be done imperatively.