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Sunday, May 22, 2005

nhl- Happ Days may be Premature

from Stan Fischler and MSG Network, That awful noise some of us are now hearing on NHL tracks is not the A (as in Agreement) Train heading to the Peace Terminal but rather brakes agonizingly grinding the express full of optimism to at least a temporary halt.
It is possible -- if not conceivable -- that the positive euphoria emanating from four meeting days worth of talks to end the NHL-NHLPA Civil War once again was premature.
Granted that statements issued by both parties contained more hopeful signs than ever. And that the league’s chief negotiator, Bill Daly, told me that a deal could be done “by early June.”
But Daly inserted a major asterisk; “If we continue on the same level that we did on Friday…”
And as William Shakespeare once - very accurately - observed, “There is much virtue in ‘If.’”
During the weekend, I contacted my one -- and only -- NHL source whose predictions since September have been unerringly accurate. The question put to him was simply: “Is widespread optimism justified?”
SCREEECCH!!
The answer was negative; with reason.
My impeccable source contacted an NHL official in the midst of the Friday conference. He was told by the man at the meetings that they were “not making much progress.”
Of course, the next question is; how do you define “progress"?
According to my informant, the Players’ Association -- led by Bob Goodenow -- is “looking for give-backs and the league has nothing to give back.”
He adds, ”Goodenow is into give-and-take but there’s not much ‘give’ on our side. And for good reason; the league has been beaten up by the NHLPA for a dozen years.”
Another disturbing revelation, via my insider, is that during the marathon Thursday night meeting, at least part of the union delegation walked out; and not to do aerobics.
“My conclusion,” the insightful source goes on, “is that, unless big-time pressure is put on Goodenow by the players, he will not make a deal....read on...