The NHL and its players association, no closer to a CBA after another day of talks Tuesday, have started to consider bringing in a federal arbiter to help close their negotiations gap.
Two hours of talks Tuesday centered around hockey-related revenue and where negotiations are going. Both sides agreed a federal arbiter could be brought in at some point, but that options is nowhere near imminent at present.
"A mediator can only be helpful if both sides are willing to embrace it and compromise,"NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "We certainly haven't ruled out that possibility."
What is all but ruled out, though, is the season starting on time. An announcement is expected any day now that regular season games – slated to start Oct. 11 – will be canceled. Some are speculating the league will cancel a large chunk of game all at once – four or six week right off the top – as a show of strength.
The surviving members of the Buffalo Sabres' French Connection gathered Tuesday at the First Niagara Center to discuss the Alumni Plaza that will feature a statue of them. The statue and plaza will be unveiled Oct. 12, which was to be the start of the Sabres' home schedule. Perreault told Sabres 101 he holds out hope for a deal to be done soon and that it'd be unfair to compare this labor situation to when he played 40 years ago:
"I'm sure Mr. Bettman and Mr. Fehr will find a way to settle everything. It's a different time. I don't compare any time to mine … The money was not there, but we had a lot of fun. That's what it was all about. We played this game since we were 6."
The money certainly isn't coming in – for either side. Daly said the league lost out on nearly $100 million in revenue by canceling the preseason – a move that, it should be noted, Daly's boss pulled the trigger on. NHLPA Director Donald Fehr said the league didn't have any preseason expenses either, and the union offered to keep negotiating while playing under the CBA that expired Sept. 15. The league has said the previous deal would have forced the league's owners out of business.
Talks are expected to pick up later this week.Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL