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Screw the NHL

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After the latest breakdown of talks between the NHL and the NHL Players Association, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that he was disappointed beyond belief. NHL executive director Donald Fehr looked shocked in his own press conference.

"It looks like this will not be resolved in the immediate future," Fehr said in his press conference at the Westin Hotel in New York City. "I hope that turns out to be wrong, but that certainly is the message that we have today."

The theatrics and posturing by the two sides is sickening and abhorrent.

Things this week looked to perk up after mediation broke down last week. Bettman suggest a group of owners and players met together without the interference of directors and commissioners and other secondary figures.

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On Tuesday both sides were working together until Wednesday when, like an teenage guy's underwear, the skidmarks appeared. The owners felt disrespected after the players were silent after the owners made a proposal and had wanted to bolt until they were persuaded by the players.

"We'll reengage if you agree to the three things that we say are important to us which is the term of the CBA, term limits on player contracts which is the hill we will die on, and the compliance issues," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who was in on the negotiations this week said.

The owners made a final proposal Wednesday night and the players made a counter-proposal on Thursday. It sounded like things were moving. Fehr even held a press conference this evening sounding optimistic about things and how close the two sides were.

Apparently he was wrong. The owners' proposal evidently was take-it-or-leave-it, and 45 minutes later Fehr went back to the podium to say that the owners left him a voicemail saying things were a no go.

"What we got today, disappointingly, missed the mark on all three in all three respects," Daly said.

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Fehr was succinct in his press conference which lasted about five minutes. He mentioned that negotiations are tough and that there is no plans for further negotiations.

Bettman and Daly were much more animated with Bettman visibly trembling as he met with the press for about 40 minutes. Bettman said that everything proposed this week was off the table and went so far as to say the concept of the make-whole provision — the deferred payment to the players over a period of years to ensure current contracts are honored — is off the table.

"We are where we are as horrible as it is," Bettman said.

"I understand how important it is to have a strong league and 30 healthy teams," Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of the Board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said in a statement. "I must admit that I was shocked at how things have played out over the last 48 hours. The sessions on Tuesday felt cooperative with an air of goodwill. I was optimistic and conveyed my optimism to the Board of Governors at our Wednesday meeting. However, when we reconvened with the players on Wednesday afternoon, it was like someone had thrown a switch. The atmosphere had completely changed. Nevertheless, the owners tried to push forward and made a number of concessions and proposals, which were not well-received. I question whether the union is interested in making an agreement."

Fuck the whole lot of them.

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I for one am tired of being dicked around by these negotiations. Bettman even threated to repeat the lost season.

"The fact of the matter is we'll get to a point we'll conclude we can't have a season with integrity and then we'll have to make a tough decision," Bettman said. He added later that he cannot envision a season being played that is less than 48 games.

"I am certainly hoping that we don't get to that place. But when we do, we'll be there."

When we do, we'll be there Bettman? I wonder if he can look the team employees, the arena employees, the folks who work in the bars and restaurants around the arenas and look them in the eyes and tell them that he'll be more than ready to cancel yet another season.

Let's do this NHL and NHLPA. You guys figure out what you want to do. Once you do, let me know. Then we'll see if I still have the smallest interest to go cover the league.

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Until then, fuck off.