“Fairly close” yet so far away … Once the moment is right, a deal will get done quickly


  • Sean Fitz-Gerald in the Ottawa Citizen: Steve Fehr said that both sides are “fairly close” on at least one major issue and are working hard on the others.

    “I think one thing Bill Daly and I agree upon is that, when the moment is right, we’ll get a deal done very quickly,” Fehr said. “One day, three days, whatever.” Daly confirmed he shared the sentiment, but with a caveat.

    “This isn’t all that complicated,” he wrote in an email. “But the clubs feel strongly about these issues, and feel like they have moved a lot already.

    There’s not much more to give.”

    On player contracting rights:

    “We’re not making any real progress in those areas,” Fehr said. “It’s kind of hard to believe anyone’s going to drive the industry bus off a cliff over things like that, but I’ve seen things before that have surprised me.”

    When asked if they’ve considered using a mediator:

    “We made it plain that we’re open to the concept,” he said. “My impression was that the league isn’t terribly interested in it. If anybody has any suggestions, suggest away.”

  • Kevin McGran via twitter: Steve Fehr said there are 3 issues: money, players contracting rights, and who pays for what if there is a shortened season this year.
  • James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail: On Sunday, the both sides discussed player contracting rights. That discussion lasted less than hour.

    “It was a candid discussion, but there was no progress,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

    Daly said the league was willing to compromise on 14 of the 17 contract issues. The issues that they may not willing to bend are believed to be “a contract term limit of five years, moving free agency and arbitration rights back one year, and allowing only a 5-per-cent variance in salary from year to year.” The players are saying at since they are moving from a 57% share to 50%, they don’t want to move on contracting rights.

    “The owners made it clear that there is no give with respect to any of their proposals,” Fehr told assembled reporters. “That unless players are prepared to take [the offer] – this is my phrase, not theirs – down to the comma, that there’s nothing to do.

    “‘We’re past the point of give and take.’ That’s what I was told Gary [Bettman] said when I was out of the meeting.”

    Fehr said more negotiations are likely to place this week in Toronto. If they can get a deal done in the next 2 weeks or so, they could get in a 60 game schedule.

  • Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly: A sources said:

    “The NHL is not ready to make a deal yet,” said one source, who has had a steady pulse on these talks since September. “Gary [Bettman] has a date in mind to play, and we’re not there yet.”

    Steve Fehr said they are close in revenue sharing, but not in other areas. When asked if they were really close on an agreement, Daly responded:

    “That’s a question you should be asking Don,” Daly said in an e-mail to CSNPhilly.com Monday. “They have given us no indication they think we are close on economics.

    “Maybe you can explain to me how close we are when the union’s last offer requested a ‘guarantee’ of players’ share dollars in excess of $1.9 billion — and a guarantee going up in subsequent years — and we are offering 50 percent of HRR this year in an environment where we estimate damage to the business of at least $400 million — to this point?

    “Their latest offer would have players making 65 percent of HRR for this year. It’s a funny definition of being ‘close’.”

    A spokesman for Steve Fehr said that Daly’s statement is not accurate, that if they could get an agreement on the overall system, they could then look at how to address the losses from the lockout.

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