Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr Have Been Allowed Back Into The Room

by Kolby Solinsky
Editor, White Cover Magazine

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Do some math. You have two troubled students leading two gangs into a war on the playground. Apparently, one has just the sandbox, but they want a share of the monkey bars, too. So, a decision is made to exclude the two leaders for the purpose of a different kind of summit. It’s minions vs. wealthy minions. Face-to-face and — we can only assume — ass-to-mouth. Meetings go well. The Sandbox Crew makes some ground with the Monkey Bar Men. They report to their parents — and the public, if any are still left caring — and the only TV network still possibly interested. “It might be over soon,” they say.

And then, they invite the two leaders back in. (Face in palm.)

“With the more critical labour issues on the docket, NHL owners and players are expected to take part in CBA talks for a third straight day this afternoon in an effort to end the nearly three-month lockout,” reports TSN. “And, this time NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will be back in the room.”

So, Bettman and Fehr — and, I guess, the NHL’s Donald Rumsfeld otherwise known as Billy Dally — having come into the wrestling ring with a ladder.

That’s right: they’ve taken their timeout. They’re allowed back into the room.

You know how that always happens? The Rock is about to get a three-count on Triple H, and then the rest of Degeneration X runs in and stops the count before the ref can count to trois. That sucks, right?

There’s another issue here: the two sides met for 10 hours on Tuesday and “even longer” on Wednesday, says TSN.ca.

These sides have barely been talking at all. You can imagine that, even when they do, it’s nothing more than sandwiches, coffee, and lunch breaks that could rival the delay of an average Air Canada flight.

Of course, there was a proposal to come out of the last two days and that, too, is something we haven’t heard about in quite some time.

“Even though the specific details of the new offers weren’t known, one aspect revealed another hurdle the sides have to cross — the length of the deal,” reported the National Post. The league’s proposal called for a 10-year term while the NHLPA continued to favour a shorter contract, according to sources.”

Oh, good. More jargon.

Look at those phrases. “One aspect revealed”. What does that mean?

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But, what we know is this: the NHL wants this new agreement to last longer than, say, the seven years that it took for the last one to dismantle into the Stock Market Crash that we’re currently in the middle of. The NHLPA, of course, wants a shorter term. We can only imagine they’re figuring out what the NHL has known for a while… their game is not that popular and the billions they’re making as a league, year-over-year, might not be there in 10 years time.

If Al Gore has taught us anything, it’s that all good things — whether inspired by a faithful devotion to Mother Earth or not — eventually end in a twisted tangle of cable wires and broken promises.

Of course, even though we make fun of them, TSN really is the only network with their ears firmly on the door of the lockout’s negotiations. Maybe it’s because they’ve invested their entire company into the NHL and nothing else except for a form of football with a 110-yard field. Maybe it’s because they really care.

TSN is so into hockey, they spent three hours of Wednesday night airing the gold medal game from the 2007 World Championships, and then video-conferenced Rick Nash in to talk about his highlight reel goal.

Anyway, here’s their report on the new offer from the NHL:

“The number in the latest offer jumped to $300 million, up from $211 million in the league’s previous offer. The players had previously asked for $389 million, making the owners’ offer exact middle ground between the previous offer and the players’ demands.”

Well, well… looks like the playground has been divided.

The players have always asked for the owners to meet them halfway. Now that they’ve done that, maybe we can move on.

We only ask, don’t let the bullies back in the room.