Wednesday, May 25, 2005

 

The Second City Players

Today the two sides are back at it. You really get a sense that all sides want this done right now. The pressure is greater, the stakes are higher, and it is coming down to the NHL's need to "throw a bone."

According to a source there was a real breakthrough moment last week. "The two sides were going back and forth...the PA wanting a certain cap number, the NHL wanting their own number, and the PA said maybe we can meet in the middle. Someone on the NHL side stood up and made a passionate speech saying something like 'Listen guys, we need to know we can make some money here. It isn't like you can say 80 we'll say 40 and we'll meet at 60. We are telling the truth about where we need to be..we can give you other things, but we're sorry, we're stuck.'" The source went onto say, "Of course it was said, more eloquently than I just did, because it really connected with certain PA members. It sounds obvious, but it was viewed as a turning point of sorts."

I do apologize if I mischacterized Bob's message...It was interesting how I got the info...the fist dozen or so guys that contacted me about it were seriously upset...the rest that contacted me were glad I fixed it, saying the message was a "a good on for Bob." I think what this probably shows, and I talked to an upset player last night about this, is that nerves are stretched right now...The guys are really energized for this deal to happen, and anything negative, or even slightly negative right now could start an inferno.

I talked to players who were contacting members of the NHLPA executive committee that they trusted yesterday and cam eout of the conversations with great optimism. They said they are confident that the "best people" are the ones making the decisions right now, and those people are telling them "don't worry, we are in control of this, and it is looking very good."

Finally, the bone the NHL will throw is looking more and more like Free Agency. The players do deserve a good bone or two thrown to them and the NHL I believe realizes this fact. The players have accepted a new system that will put a drag on their salaries. The PA has given up alot here for the good of a game that needed fixing, and certain NHL people understand that. It is now vital that they get something out of this lockout. If a relationship to build the game is to exist as we move forward here, it will be important to heal this wound and work together.

As a well-loved agent said to me, "There should be a PA office in the NHL office and vice-versa. Trust can come from working side by side as we move forward and try and make this game better."

There are hints that this may be very much further along than anyone is letting on...some very large clues, but I can't get into them yet. A few sources have implied they wouldn't be surprised at all if a deal was announced suddenly, almost out of thin air...

stay tuned..

PS. There will be no chat today at 4pm as I celebrate my daughter's third birthday this afternoon. My wife is taking off of work and we will be taking her and the young one out...We were going to walk Valley Green Park, and amazing nature walk in Philly city limits, but it is cold and rainy today. Hopefully that clears up. I will try and chat around noon ET, but no promises...I will be on Fan 960 in Calgary tonight at 6:25 ET, 4:25 in Calgary..you can listen online at www.fan960.com. I usually pop in chat when I do a radio show, probably will be doing it remotely tonight..



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