Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

Here We Go Again

Get ready hockey fans to get back on the roller coaster starting with tomorrow's meetings. You know tomorrow will be something big based on all of the pre-game leaks and posturing. The NHL today announced a Board of Governors meeting for April 20th. Is that the new drop dead, or should I say "still Dead" date? Rumors are swirling tonight that the BOG meeting will be to declare an impasse should these talks fail.

One person I spoke to said this: "The NHL has an amazing group of lawyers working round the clock on this impasse, and they think they have the grounds locked up. Gary wants certainty before it is declared. And just how certain they are we will know in the next few days. If they come with more proposals they have doubts, if they (as others have told me) are leaving it up to the PA to make the next proposal they know they have an impasse. But it is very complicated, and until the NLRB signs off on it nothing is certain."

Goodenow has come out publicly saying it is up to the NHL to make the next proposal, but the NHL has made many more proposals and if the PA sits back now they don't help their impasse case at all. I have been told the NHLPA is going to present some new ideas in the next few weeks that will make impasse less likely. I have been told some of the details, but am not comfortable releasing the info at this time. I still have some issues with the PA over the fiasco in NY with Mario and Wayne, and I don't want to be played by anyone again.

I see the following scenarios in order of likelihood occurring over the next few weeks.

1. A Deal is struck (most likely)
2. If not, impasse is declared April 20
3. If impasse fails, I see a strong possibility of the Bain Capitol group teaming up with some of the top owners in the NHL and buying out the small market teams. I believe they will keep the thirty teams functioning, but from a central control group.
4. If that doesn't happen you will see a league by the NHLPA players...I don't see the WHA happening unless they partner with the NHLPA. I think the league will run from September to January, at which time the players will realize they can't make money doing it and the NHL will start up next January.

That is how this could play out, but I do believe that the two sides will settle this in the next month. All this other stuff is posturing (haven't we been here before?)

From another source "I wouldn't be surprised to see tomorrow go very badly, and it still gets settled prior to April 20. Goodenow is a deadline guy. The players are nervous about this strategy. One player told me if Gary 'out strategizes' this again he will be out quickly."



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