Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed a two-week moratorium on the collective-bargaining talks. However, all along the union wanted meet, and that's what the league and the players' association will do Monday night in New York City, eight days after the two sides last convened.
After more frustration as the negotiations reached yet another stalemate, Bettman (oddly) thought that setting it aside altogether was the best way to go, instead of, you know, getting together and hashing out a deal. Some reports indicated it was a move by the Commissioner to get the players to sweat it out, eventually caving as more of their pay was lost. Others said that it was Bettman's move to show the that the league had never privately set a date it wanted to begin the season by.
Regardless, players and owners both will be attending a "smaller group" meeting, according to TSN's Darren Dreger, hopefully gaining some sort of traction as the talks hit a crucial point. The agenda has not been released.
The work stoppage has already dragged on for 63 days, with games through the end of November cancelled and games through Dec. 15 next, a move that will become official by the middle of this coming week. The Jan. 1 Winter Classic has been nixed and the All-Star game is also very close to being called off as well.
Along with how the 50-50 hockey-related revenue split would be reached, the two sides are still not seeing eye-to-eye on how the damage of the lockout will be accounted for, and player contract rights have also emerged as a significant hurdle. A report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo on Friday revealed that the NHL figured out the two sides were just over $1 billion apart and would never reach 50-50, based on league charts that illustrated the NHLPA's latest proposal, which begins with a "guaranteed" share of $1.916 in Year 1 and grows by 1.75% each year.
Still, a break in the talks would only be more destructive, so at least the two sides will be getting together. Though what that leads to is another question.