September 12, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHLPA executive director Don Fehr (right) flanked by Vancouver Canucks player Manny Malhotra (to his left) and Winnipeg Jets player Ron Hainsey (to his right) during a press conference at the 2012 NHLPA summer player meetings at the Marriott Marquis. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Hits Bottom, Changes Drill Bits and Continues To Dig


This past week, fans and players felt there was possibility light at the end of the tunnel. We heard that the NHLPA and owners were in agreement on some contractual issues and negotiating the rest. Last night, Gary Bettman dropped the hammer on the NHLPA. Via voicemail. Not in person over the negotiating table. Not in a note that gives  hope or a roadmap to the settlement of the lockout. A voicemail. Nothing is as dismissive as a voicemail. I don’t even think enough of you to get my people to get you on the phone. Kind of surprised he didn’t send it out on Twitter.

 

If you read his comment linked here from the NY Times hockey blog , there is emotion and anger in his comments. Does he feel let down by the NHLPA. Absolutely. Does he t

I am disappointed beyond belief that we are where we are tonight, and we’re going to have to take a deep breath and try to regroup.

One of the things that Bill informed the union of is that the things that we added to the table this week are now off the table. And as I told the union weeks ago, I was under increasing pressure to get the make-whole off the table. If you remember correctly, the make-while came at our attempt to save an 82-game season back in early November, and that offer was given virtually no consideration, and lapsed. It was our best offer, it was the best that we could do, and then we tried to stretch a little more. Sometimes you feel like you’re chasing your tail in this process, but we so much wanted to play, we went even further than we should have. And when it didn’t get the right response I started hearing from the clubs, “Why is make-whole still on the table?” And I told the union I was under increasing pressure to take it off, but that I wasn’t going to do that because I wanted to do everything possible to try and keep this process going to try and get to a deal.

 

No one has been more supportive or defending of the Commissioner than I have the past few years. I’ve been defending this piece of ground since he helped keep the Phoenix Coyotes here, in Glendale. He makes it hard to continue to put in the work.

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