Gary Bettman's lockout threat "something you don't want to hear," Lightning's B.J. Crombeen says
Commissioner Gary Bettman’s declaration Thursday that the NHL will lock out its players on Sept. 15 without a new collective bargaining agreement is “something you don’t want to hear,” Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen said.
Even so, he added, “We’re confident there’s still a lot of time left to get a deal done.”
Bettman, speaking to reporters in New York after a negotiating session, agreed, but added, "We're not prepared to have another season under this collective bargaining agreement. ... We obviously have a wide gap to bridge on a whole host of issues, including the significance and importance of revenue sharing (between teams).”
The Players’ Association was unhappy with the owners’ initial proposal to cut the players’ share of league revenues from 57 to 43-46 percent and roll back salaries 22 percent. But union executive director Donald Fehr has said the players are willing to start the season under the current CBA if negotiations are ongoing.
“But with Gary’s comments, they feel strong enough that they don’t want to continue under this agreement and want further concessions from the players,” said Crombeen, a member of the union’s negotiating committee. “We’re trying to make sense of what they need and what they want.”
The players are expected to make a counter proposal on Tuesday.
“Our proposal is a good proposal,” Crombeen said. “With our proposal we feel we’ll be closer to getting that agreement done.”
Asked if he could provide specifics, he laughed and said, “I don’t think I can do that. I’d get into trouble.”