One Step Up, Two Steps Back

After two days of what appeared to be heightened optimism that included pizza being brought into the meetings by Steve Fehr, many felt that the NHL lockout was finally coming to an end.  However faster than a Patrick Sharp one timer, the tailspin that developed on Thursday changed all that.  Possibly for a very long time.  The glow, the optimism, and the hope that games would begin as early as Christmas day were all shot down yesterday evening.  By voicemail.  Hah! Modern technology.  What a glorious world we live in where we can avoid confrontation by leaving a voicemail with a decision.  Although it’s 2012, the memo could also have been delivered via text message.

This relationship between the NHL and the NHLPA is getting more sour by the minute, and it seems as though the two sides are behaving like immature high schoolers.  Yesterday’s response which came from Bill Daly stated that the PA’s offer was unacceptable, could have, and should have been delivered in person.  The situation, which is partly laughable, and partly embarrassing, reminds me of when I was a 20 year goofball and I broke up with my girlfriend over the phone! For some reason I thought that it would be easier doing it that way than face to face.  I was wrong for taking the path of least resistance, and after the fact I knew it.  But I was a kid who really didn’t know better.  In the current situation we’re talking about adults.  Professionals who have a signifcant amount of experience in negotiations. 

While both sides still share blame in this, Michael Grange referred to Gary Bettman yesterday as the “bad boyfriend” of the NHLPA.  Snicker.  Bettman however is not the only villan here, as it was noted that NHLPA rep Donald Fehr had made remarks that “we’re close to a deal”, which apparently they weren’t.  And told his players to” hold out for more”.  This has turned into a mess of epic proportions and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if more games are cancelled today (by the time this story posts they may already have). [Read more…]

REDlines: I Just Wanna Be Numb

Maybe it’s the bug in my stomach I caught yesterday, or the time change from Sunday, but with each passing day I am getting more and more apathetic in regards to this lockout.  Even after days of meetings where both sides are finally “locked” in a room for hours, we still are no closer to the season starting than we were two weeks ago.  I worry about when we’ll start losing our passion and our interest in this game.  It’s going to happen, and maybe for some of you it already has.

For now, today, I am just “numb” about all this.

Here’s the latest of what’s going on:

Elliotte Friedman says the Gloves are off: CBC Sports.

Is it all lies?  Michael Grange from Sportsnet.

Are the players getting all the facts? Harrison Mooney from Puck Daddy.

After four days of talks there’s no progress.

It’s gloomy right now for sure, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t change on a dime.  Both sides seem far apart and no one appears to be in a rush to settle, however surprises are possible.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, Kris Eberwein @RatTrickKris, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.


NHL Losses More Games. Are Fans Next?

The past 48 hours have been a bit of a blur to me.  Being on a business trip in New York, I had to pick my spots on Thursday and Friday to find out what the status of the current labor negotiations were, and like many of you I have been sadly dissappointed in the outcome.  As we know, the NHL’s offer earlier in the week led us to believe that an end to the lockout was imminent….well ok, coming soon.  The more you read and paid attention on Twitter however, you began to devleop the feeling that your excitement was premature.  Based on how Thursday’s meetings went, they were.

Most people felt that the NHL put the onus on the players with their offer and that all the players had to do was take it and we would be done.  Not so fast Hoss!  Donald Fehr, who many think is a master at negotiating, put together a strategy that he felt would counter the Bettmans, feeling that one of the three proposals would be accepted.  Problem is none of them were.  Matter of fact it happened in less than 15 minutes.  Taking sides in this ordeal has become an issue for many, as each side had employed it’s own method of negotiating.  I referred to Fehr’s style up till Thursday as “rope a dope”, as he sat back and waited.  I called the league’s method as “taking a hard stance”, and that they had finally realized they needed to come to the table with something better.

[Read more…]

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, 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…]

REDlines: No Progress! None Of This Makes Any Sense.

The NHL and NHLPA met today without anything positive indicating that a settlement to the lockout was even remotely close.  Rather than me write about it, you can read about it, as well as some other off the wall happenings of the day.  Here’s your Redlines for Tuesday night:

* Talks broke off quickly and none are scheduled.  Oh, and the league lost $100 million by cancelling the pre season.

* Bill Daly says the two sides are communicating but can’t agree on what the CBA should look like. USAToday.

* CBC Sports looks at this (not so) great debate.

[Read more…]

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 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…]

Baby Steps Taken As NHLPA And League Talk About Secondary Issues

After not meeting for two weeks the NHL and the NHLPA finally sat down Friday morning and actually made progress on things.  Unfortunately not the things that you or I wanted them to agree on.  Progress?  Well, at least they talked.  Secondary issues were the topics of conversation, and it was reported that the core economic issue that has both sides at an impasse wasn’t even discussed.

Former defenceman Mathieu Schneider who is now a special NHLPA assistant summed up the talks by referring to Friday’s discussion as making baby steps.  Here’s the entire quote:

“You would absolutely hope that things progress and kind of catch fire, but right now we’re just going to take it one step at a time and try to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible,” said former player Mathieu Schneider, now an NHLPA special assistant to the executive director. “We’re taking baby steps right now.”

While the discussions were focused on drug testing, player safety and other topics that had nothing to do with the major issues, it was nice to see both sides in the room for longer than 90 minutes.  Still, with no visible outcome resembling a settlement, the economic struggle still exists.  I find it hard to believe that the season will start on time at the pace both sides are going.  Friday was the first meeting since September 16th, and with opening night around the corner, things would need to happen rather quickly in order for the games to begin on time.  The longer this goes, the more it looks as though games will soon be getting cancelled.

[Read more…]

REDlines: Dark Days Ahead?

Can Brendan Shanahan suspend the labor discussions?:

Talks continue as both the NHL and NHLPA attempt to work out a settlement.  Here in one place we bring you what are the important articles to read. 

James Mirtle does an excellent job of breaking this down.  Globe and Mail.

Michael Grange at Sportsnet doesn’t see this coming together soon.  SportsNet.

Donald Fehr believes a lockout can be avoided.  CBC Sports.

Fehr also lays out the union’s position.  Pro Hockey Talk.

Justin Bourne says it’s not impossible for the players to play.  Backhand Shelf.

Puck Daddy as this whole situation relates to the fans.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, and Kris Eberwein @RatTrickKris. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.


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