True? Last Minute Communication Breakdown in NHL Labor Talks
IF SO THIS IS MESSED UP!
Was a communication breakdown amongst the NHLPA the real reason the season wasn't saved?
Did a lack of communication amongst the NHLPA help cancel this season? Based on recent conversations with two players and the public reaction of numerous players following the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, it looks like NHLPA's theme song should be the old Led Zeppelin hit "Communication Breakdown.
Just prior to NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow's press conference yesterday at 4 PM, ESPN NHL Analyst Darren Pang reported that many players and agents had phoned him to say that they felt "misinformed" and that "they were trying to reach NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow to ask him to call NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman one more time and accept the NHL's final offer of a $42.5 million cap.
"A number of players have called me in the last hour and said that since Bettman's press conference, they have tried to call Goodenow and tell him to take the last deal," Pang, a former NHL goalie said on ESPN News. "They are trying to get the deal done, it is within reach. They have removed linkage, get it done," he quoted the players as saying but according to Pang, their calls were not returned.
Pang even went as far as saying that some players were going to go public with their displeasure and Goodenow's job could be in jeopardy because they felt he hadn't done his job and gotten them the best deal.
Part of Pang's opinion and the reason for the players urging for a deal to get done even after the deadline, was that Bettman hinted that he might have listened to and agreed upon a $45 million cap, if Goodenow called yesterday and tried to meet the league half-way on its final offer.
"There was no call from the union and to be honest I was shocked," Bettman said in his press conference. "Making another offer was incumbent upon the players but they never did that so I have to say I don't know what another call would've done," Bettman said.
He also hinted that he might even consider rescinding his cancellation of the season, if Goodenow called him yesterday afternoon.
"Would I suffer the embarrassment of having to come back here in a four hours and save the season? You betcha!" he said.
Goodenow didn't do that but there were rumors that the players might contact Bettman themselves and actually had contacted NHL Vice President Bill Daly earlier in the week. Mmm isn't it sounding more and more like a good portion of players would not only have gone down to $45 million but also even accepted $42.5 million? This leads one to ask, if that was truly the case why wasn't everyone on the same page or at least discussing these options before negotiations reached the eleventh hour and eventually ceased?
"We were in a position where we needed to find common ground and it seems we did that over the past week," Minnesota Wild forward Brian Rolston said Monday night to Murphy's Law. "But in a situation like this and the way this business is conducted, we need to put our trust in Bob and that's just what we did. We still, well I know I still trust him and think he did his best."
But not every player agrees with that observation.
"I just wish maybe Bob and those in the know did a better job of communicating to us and we didn't have to read it in the news," said one player who wished to remain anonymous. "I know I would've considered this deal and in fact but I always thought we were strictly against a cap. When I read in the news that we had offered one, I was shocked! If we had all been able to express our views maybe we would've been able to put together something that would've worked and saved the season."
That raises another red flag on the NHLPA communication lines. Why did this player have to read this in the news first and not on "The Source," the NHLPA's secure website?
Rolston pointed to hackers and members or those who have access, leaking passwords and info from that website.
"Unfortunately our website hasn't been secure for a long time and hackers can get in and people have violated our trust so they can't always post up-to-date info on the negotiations," he said.
In fact, according to Rolston the last report from Goodenow on the site was in late January when the union head warned the players to "prepare for a possible two year lockout."
"That's the last thing I read or heard from Bob," he said.
According to Rolston, the system in use now has the Executive Board Committee inform team player reps that then run it by as many players as possible and report back to the board. But this doesn't have to happen and the board can act on its own and give Goodenow a yay or nay. So what happens with the players in Europe?
"I imagine sometimes they're out of the loop," said the aforementioned source. "Something needs to be done, because this didn't have to come to this. A lot of guys I know just wanted to play."
Could a better, more up-to-date system have changed the minds of enough players to save the season?
"Who knows?" said the source.
That just makes it all worse, if it's true.
What I've read is that it sounds like the $45M guys were out there, they just weren't members of the union leadership. So the ones who went to NY had no plan to negotiate, it was an attempt to break the owners one last time. Damphousse (sp?) refused to even discuss the major sticking point, the cap figure, and wanted to talk about other peripheral contentions that didn't come near the cap figure in terms of importance. If they could have agreed on a cap, that could have at least led to an agreement in principle, so camps could start while the other minor stuff was hammered out.
Also, Bettman went to $42.5M on his own, he did not have authorization from the Governor's Board to do that. Even if the PA had accepted that offer, it wasn't certain that the owners would.
Ack! And Damphousse is now a member of the Avs too.
I actually read a lot of stuff about him being a real hardass on the whole thing. Damnit.
Not dissin damphousse i like the guy as a player but what exactly are his qualifications for even being in this position let alone making major decisions like this?? iam guessing he has someones hand up his butt and someone else is doing the talking the players are there for show.
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