Tampa Bay Lightning RW B.J. Crombeen calls NHL's negotiating style "a bully tactic"
Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen doesn’t like the way the NHL is conducting negotiations, calling the league’s refusal to restart talks on a new collective bargaining agreement “a bully tactic.”
The Players' Association on Tuesday night offered to talk without preconditions. Commissioner Gary Bettman said there is nothing to talk about unless the union has a new proposal or engages the league’s position on reaching a 50-50 split in hockey related revenues.
"As players we have shown we're willing to negotiate, we're willing to work, that we want to get something done, but they're not willing to," said Crombeen, a member of the union's negotiating committee. "They say, 'We're not going to talk to you unless you agree to this.' Its a bully tactic. It's not really negotiating."
Here is more of Crombeen's interview Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon:
On where things stand with negotiations: "We were hoping when we got their last proposal they were going to be serious about negotiating and I think it's pretty clear they're not right now. For them to say they're only willing to talk to us if we agree to 98 percent of what they propose, which is making it a smaller piece of a smaller pie, it's definitely very frustrating. It's frustrating when you hear them say to fans they they're trying to get this done, they're trying to do it, because they're not. They're doing what they want to do and it's frustrating for all of us. We want to be out there. We want to be playing. We weer hopeful this was going to lead to something. It's frustrating to see them act the way they are."
On salvaging an 82-game season: "It's difficult to see when they won't talk to us. We've talked to them numerous times. We told them we're in New York, we want to get together, we want to talk. ... A lot of us had a little bit of cautious optimism when they made their proposal, but to see them do stuff like this is very frustrating."
On discussion between layers: "Guys are always discussing what's going on. Every day when we get in here, we probably take the first 10 or 15 minutes, kind of saying if there's anything going on, what's happening, what do guys think. Every guy wants to be back playing. We were optimistic that, hopefully, we could get that 82-game schedule just because we knew we were willing to negotiate and make a lot of concessions to get a deal done. It just doesn't seem enough for them."