BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL season was supposed to get started Thursday night, but the second lockout in eight years has fans watching KHL games instead of their beloved teams.
However, the NHL and NHLPA are set to resume talks once again on Friday, and CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Wednesday morning that is good news.
“It is good news because the last time there was a lockout – the one when the entire season was missing in 04-05 – they went three months without talking to each other and meeting at all,” said Haggerty. “The fact they are continuing to have conversations, continuing to try to do something to keep the dialog moving, is a good sign and points to something getting done where there is a season.”
But in recent talks, economic issues were not on the table. Now both sides are making threats, although neither are very serious at this point in time according to Haggs.
“There is a lot of brinksmanship where people are making threats; that the NHL will be ready to cancel the whole season in November… and I know on the player’s side there are also threats that if things don’t start going better in talks, eventually the NHLPA will take the salary cap off the table and threaten to entirely change the system,” he said. “Things could go really awfully wrong on both sides with threats being made — or the overshadowing of threats being made — so that isn’t encourage, but I don’t think it gets to that point.”
But can we actually believe anything out of either side before November hits?
“No, I think that’s when things start to get serious. I don’t think either side has gotten serious and made a major concession. The NHL has told the NHLPA that until the players are ready to take a cut in salary next year… the NHL is not willing to talk. That’s the core economical issue they’re having a problem with,” he said. “The players want at least the 1.87 billion slice of the revenue pie they got last year, and the league is saying they want some of that money back… if the players aren’t ready to take an immediate salary cut for next year, there is nothing to talk about as far as the economics go.”
The NHL cancelled the first two weeks of the season last week, and we could see a few more two-week blocks fall by the wayside shortly. But this might actually be a good thing towards getting hockey played this season.
“From the NHL’s point of view, these 14-day blocks that they’re canceling, they represent 6.8-to-7-percent of the player’s paychecks of the year. If the NHL cancels three of those segments, that’s about 20-percent of the players worth of the players paychecks; that’s exactly what the owners wanted to remove from the player salary this year,” said Haggerty. “Conceivably, the NHL could cancel three 14-day segments, yank the 20-percent they always wanted out of the player salaries, and begin the season mid-November and still play 75-80 games – close to a regular season – while not paying that 20-percent.”
Also, which Bruins are currently playing overseas, and how will this benefit the players in the long run?