Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NHL angrily breaks off labor talks

Union chief Don Fehr, right (with the Penguins' Sidney Crosby): Looks like it’s not going to be resolved in the near future.

Associated Press

Union chief Don Fehr, right (with the Penguins' Sidney Crosby): Looks like it’s not going to be resolved in the near future.

All NHL owners wanted from players Thursday was a yes or no concerning the league's latest offer.

Instead, the players association wanted to negotiate, commissioner Gary Bettman said. And with that, the league angrily broke off talks on a collective bargaining agreement.

Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly spewed venom during a news conference as the 83-day lockout of players hit its nadir with the season in more peril than ever. Daly called the union's actions "insulting to our owners." Bettman said, "Anything we put on the table this week is off. … I am disappointed beyond belief we are where we are. We're going to have to take a deep breath and try to regroup."

If that doesn't happen quickly, the league — which already has canceled games through Dec. 14, the Jan. 1 Winter Classic and the All-Star Game — will cancel more of the season.

With no new negotiations scheduled, grim union head Donald Fehr conceded, "This looks like it's not going to be resolved in the near future."

It went south quickly, considering the goodwill that came out of two days of meetings at a New York hotel between six owners, including the Lightning's Jeff Vinik, and as many as 18 players, including Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis and B.J. Crombeen.

Owners increased to $300 million from $211 million money in the "make-whole" provision that partially guarantees current player contracts when the players' share of revenue is slashed to 50 percent from 57 percent. Owners also agreed to retain rules for rookie contracts (three years), unrestricted free agency (27 years old or seven years in the league) and salary arbitration.

Fehr, about 30 minutes before Bettman spoke Thursday, even indicated a deal was close. But Bettman said that was "incomprehensible" because players had to agree to three issues "vitally important to the owners."

• A deal of 10 years with a reopen option after eight.

• A five-year contract limit, though teams could sign their own free agents for seven. "A hill we're willing to die on," Daly said.

• No amnesty buyouts next season of unwanted contracts and no limits on player escrow payments. "Money outside the system," Daly said, and non-starters.

The union proposed an eight-year deal with a reopen for players after six years and maximum eight-year contracts. It also raised concerns about the pension plan.

"We were expecting an answer, yes or no," Bettman said. "If the answer is no, there is no point continuing the discussions. (Thursday) wasn't intended to be a negotiating session. … Spinning us all into an emotional frenzy over 'Maybe we're close to a deal' … is terribly unfair to our fans and unfair to the process."

Where do things go from here? The union could pursue decertification; antitrust laws prohibit employers from locking out nonunion workers. The league must consider a drop-dead date to cancel the season; Bettman said that had not been determined.

"I hold out hope we can join with our players and return the game back to its rightful place on the ice," Vinik said in a statement.

"I'm very discouraged," St. Louis said. "We try to engage them and keep negotiating, but unless you say yes to what they want, there is no deal.

"Time to take off, maybe go on a vacation."

NHL angrily breaks off labor talks 12/06/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 7, 2012 12:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.