UPDATED: There are tweets from people with knowledge of the talks as Doug Mclean that are saying coaches are calling players to get ready to report with games starting on the 15th. There are also reports that the talks are at a fragile point and it could all turn bad. When Bettman left the B.O.G. meeting, in which the Rangers are said to have spoken up with owner Dolan, CEO Ratner, and GM Sather all putting in their" 2 cents", Bettman was to seem "chipper". With the rangers, Toronto, and Montreal being the big 3 moneymakers having a say makes it VERY possible to have an agreement within the next 48 hours. From what I am hearing, I would expect this to finally be over and a press conference sometime Friday.
There is supposed to be a player/owner meeting without the heads of the NHL or NHLPA involved hoping that these would be minds that can make a difference. Sounds like a great idea to get to the end of this nonsense of not being able to divide 3 billion dollars where everyone can be happy! The people who are getting killed by this of course are the fans but the people who work at the arenas and surrounding bars and restaurants are getting crushed!!! Again, this is something that the owners don't care about because htey probably fel that the fans will just have to eat and drink at the arena which will make them MORE money.
The owners have "loaded the deck" with the team owners that they are sending. The hardliners of Boston and Calgary are included. Then they say the Pittsburgh owner(not Lemeuix) is a good negotiator since he got the new arena built despite great odds. The NHL (Bettman) helped in getting that arena done as he helped broker a deal in Newark and was there with shovel in hand for the ground breaking. Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Winnepeg seem to be fair BUT Toronto wants another team and Tampa Bay and Winnepeg have newer owners so who knows what promises were made. What I can show for fact is that all 6 of these teams have a HIGH stake in this whole "make whole" in contracts. Let's start with Calgary, who has 11 players on either NTC/NMC(No Trade Clause/No Movement Clause) which mean they have to pay these players unless they want out. Boston has 14 players for $47 mil cap hit next season. Boston has 10 players on NTC/NMC and 16 players for $57 mil cap next season. Pittsburgh has 9 players on NTC/NMC and has 15 players for $52 mil cap hit next season(the last on Malins contract). Tampa Bay has 8 players on NTC/NMC and 15 players for $57 mil cap hit next season. Toronto has 7 players on NTC/NMC and 13 players for $41 mil cap hit. And little ole Winnepeg has 6 players on NTC/NMC and 9 players for a $33 mil cap hit. So now do you think ANY of these owners have the fans or players care in mind. Two owners that were involved in the last lockout, are the REASON for this lockout. They threw moneyand NTC/NMC's around like they were nothing. I guess we have now found out why, it seems they had no thoughts about actually paying them in full. I am not a lwayer, but that would clearly seem to be making a deal in bad faith.
The players are fighting for what they say is a fair wage. Fair for what? The players aren't angels in this either. The average hockey arena averages close to 18,000 seats. Players are being paid baseball type money now with less that half the attendance of baseball. I am not sure which players but there are rumors of players of te Crosby caliber. The players that this really affect are the 3rd and 4th liners the most as the top tier players will always make their big dollars. The owners want anyone with a contract of over $1 mil to count on the NHL cap--that just means lower level players will be offered less money, bad for the players side.
So in stating all this, I think the Boston and Calgary owner will let the Pittsburgh owner have alittle say but will control the meeting and try to beat the players to the ice. If there are only top level players there to negotiate, the NHLPA will not be happy with the final outcome as more players will be forced to make league minimum( minimal increases each year) , owners will get the added year before UFA, and so on. The Redden rule will go into affect to all new contracts. In my opinion, the Boston owner who has let his organization spend wildly and hand out NTC/NMC like candy should NOT be in the meeting and an owner who made $74 mil and wants the lockout to stop in Rangers owner Dolan should take his place. Dolan knows how to make money AND how to run a team correctly in the NHL since the last lockout. The Rangers have 3 players on NTC/NMC(one is Rick Nash who was traded for) and 16 players for $51 mil next season. They have 3 players on RFA years unless this also is extended. Seems like more of a mind of reason than Jacobs. Let's get playing HOCKEY DAMMIT!!!!!