Breaking Sports

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

nhl- Optimism Fading

from Foxsports, The NHL and NHLPA held their longest consecutive set of CBA talks late last week, with Thursday's 14-hour session spilling over into Friday.
Pundits began expressing "cautious optimism" that progress, at long last, may finally be happening.
But just a weekend later, some in the media began expressing nervousness, as "leaks" of deadline demands and "insider" speculations of the PA potentially undermining the process found their way into the headlines.
The ball got rolling with the Ottawa Sun publishing a report citing sources claiming NHL commissioner Gary Bettman apparently warned NHLPA director Bob Goodenow that the league wanted a new CBA by mid-June or there was no point in having a 2005-06 season.
Worse, if no deal came to pass by this supposed deadline, the Sun's sources claimed Bettman might walk away from talks, return to his original demand of a $31 million cap, attached with a "take it or leave it" stipulation and refuse further negotiation until the PA capitulated.
The paper was quick to point out that the league wasn't threatening to cancel next season but is concerned over the potential loss of revenues from expired sponsorship deals and sluggish season ticket sales.
The National Post reported that even NHL VP Bill Daly seemingly backed away from his earlier optimistic comments of a new deal by mid-June.
Meanwhile, depending on the source, Goodenow faces a growing number of disgruntled players and agents, or has been replaced by Trevor Linden, Ted Saskin and Mike Gartner, or holds such influence over the players that most are scared to stand up to him.
The possibility that the real reason why he hasn't been ousted is that the majority of players and agents still support him apparently isn't a real factor for consideration by the rumormongers.
On top of that, there is now speculation that Goodenow is attempting to undermine the process, that he has no intention of ever signing a deal with the league, or my favorite, that Saskin, Linden and Gartner will sign the next CBA but not Goodenow.
Idle hands truly are the devil's workshop. In cases like these, it's probably best to consider the source and allow some time to go by to determine if the speculations are on...