A composite image of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association. (Photo : (Reuters/CARLO ALLEGRI/ERIC THAYER))
Last week, the NHL stated that they wanted a two week moratorium from negotiations.
The move prompted the NHLPA to ask for negotiations to continue as they would bring a new offer to the table. Negotiations resumed on Monday and Tuesday and it was widely believed that the NHLPA would bring their new offer on Wednesday.
However, on the 67th day of negotiations the meetings went as they had gone for two months and counting.
"We're dealing with a union that really isn't trying to negotiate, make any deal that we can live with for the long-term health of this game," said Commissioner Gary Bettman. "We're hoping that with the passage of time, the players' association will come to realize that what we have proposed has been more than fair. And the fact that we're keeping this proposal on the table, when it was contingent on an 82-game season, should be evidence of our desire to get this done the right way."
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr was equally frustrated with negotiations and stated that ""We've identified what's important to players, but they seem to be so far at least unwilling to treat those concerns in a serious way."
The NHLPA brought forth a new proposal on Wednesday that included a five year term limit and no limits to player contracts. The organization also put forth a new "make whole proposal" that would have the NHL pay a guaranteed amount in the first four years of the five-year term: $182 million in 2012-13; $128 million in 2013-14; $72 million in 2014-15; and $11 million in 2015-16. One of the major contentions of this deal was the $182 million that the league would be forced to pay for the year one lockout in 2012-13. "It is unrealistic that owners will pay disproportionate share of revenue lost due to a lockout in year one," said Bettman.
The lockout is clearly frustrating people across the board and a number of players have attacked commissioner Gary Bettman--including Kris Versteeg who called him a "cancer" and Ian White who said that Bettman was "an [expletive]." However another player has chosen another outlet to vent his frustration.
Washington Capitals defender Roman Hamrlik has gone against the grain and attacked Fehr instead. In an interview with a Czech publication, the 38 year old stated that he was "disgusted" and that "We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal. Time is against us. We lost a quarter of the season, it is $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr? There should be voting between player. Four questions -- yes or no -- then count it. If half of players say let's play, then they should sign new CBA. If there is no season he should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy."
Hamrlik's statement represents the sentiments of one in an organization of 700, but with players losing money and leadership making no progress, it is likely that he is not the last one to speak out against Fehr. Will it help push more players to voice out their disappointment? And will it do anything to move negotiations along?