Gary And The Union Gap Shows Two Sides Remain World’s Apart

There are meetings scheduled between the NHL and the NHLPA this Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s been reported that once again, economic issues won’t be on the agenda.  After having a meeting to set up a meeting (lunacy) the two sides will be discussing secondary issues again, while the major problems won’t be talked about.  According to a story that was posted on Sportsnet.ca, player safety, medical care, drug testing, rent and mortgage reimbursements and grievances will be the topics of discussion.

For whatever reason, as we now enter the fourth week of the lockout, it’s puzzling that the major economic issues that have the two sides so far apart aren’t being discussed.  As this stand off continues to last longer, we are getting dangerously close to having more regular season games cancelled.  The league continues to say that they are committed to get “this” done, however if no one talks about the major issues, how can it possibly be settled?

[Read more...]

The Friday Feature: Coach K Speaks Out!

Coach K

Welcome to what will hopefully become a weekly staple here at Panther Parkway:  The Friday Feature, where we have a friend of the site speak out on some of the issues of the game, and give us their honest and direct opinions with no strings attached.  Up first is someone that I consider to not only be a good friend to me, the site, and many of you, but a person who’s opinion I am truly interested in hearing.  You know him as “Coach K”.  Who is he?

Kosta Papoulias (Better known as Coach K), is a radio personality and associate producer with the Web Sports Media Network. He appears regularly on Montreal Hockey Talk (www.montrealhockeytalk.com), a smash-mouth, uncensored Montreal Canadiens post-game show. Kosta has spent the better part of the last 18 years behind the bench at all levels of hockey, and speaks often to some of the best minds in the game, sharing his insight and analysis. Coach K lives near Montreal, with his loving wife of 13 years, Carole, and their 2 daughters, Amanda and Kristina.

Let’s get to it:

1) So Coach K, knowing the passion you have for the game, and the knowledge you have, I’m going to get right to it.  What is your position on the NHL Lockout, specifically is one side more out of line than the other?

This time, I place the blame on not only the owners, but their executives as well. Most GMs in the NHL have spent the last 7 years trying to find ways to circumvent the salary cap. Only a select few, like Ken Holland, Ray Shero and Steve Tambellini, have built their teams through the draft. Granted, as time goes by, keeping their blue chip draft picks becomes more difficult, but it’s the right way to build a team. They are in the minority though. Most GMs, especially in major markets where the pressure to win is immense, think that trading young assets for high priced talent is a recipe for results. I guess Bob Gainey and Glen Sather learned the hard way that it’s a formula for mediocrity. There is also the mind numbing negotiation tactics of Gary Bettman. Just because a lockout worked last time doesn’t mean you have to slam another one down everyone’s throats, while maintaining the facade that the league is negotiating in good faith.

NHL Labor Talks Resume Today. Will Progress Be Made?

The NHL and the NHLPA are scheduled to resume labor discussions today, however the talks aren’t expected to touch on the items that are keeping the sides at bay.  Instead the two sides will discuss what the definition of hockey related revenue is.   HRR to you and me.  It was reported on Sportsnet.ca that there are no talks scheduled beyond Tuesday, once again giving the impression that there’s no sense of urgency to to get a deal completed by either side.

As the week progresses, we will certainly start coming dangerously close to seeing the cancellation of regular season games.  I personally would expect by the end of this week if not sooner we’ll see at least two weeks worth of games taken off the schedule.  While both sides have made some headway in discussing “secondary” issues, the major concerns still hang in the balance.  Frustration is mounting among fans, and certain players (Krys Barch) have begun voicing their opinions.  There’s even a We Love Hockey petition that’s been started.

I have read over the past few days that unless the players are willing to take a 15% pay cut, the league has no interest in discussion HRR.   I’ve also read the the two biggest drivers of that are Gary Bettman and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.  The hardball stance that is taken by the league seems to be agitating the players, as they’ve offered to have serious discussions, yet the league has apparently avoided them.  [Read more...]

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