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11-03-2012, 12:23 PM
Veni Vidi Toga
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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James Mirtle ‏@mirtle
Fehr: "Both sides have agreed to keep [today's meeting] confidential... to keep the focus on the talks and not on conducting media scrums."
Well there's good news. I think everyone understands that when they are negotiating through the press it implies motives besides those of reaching a quick solution.

The players have made it clear for quite some time that they dont believe they will see the owners best offer until sometime around December, after the Winter Classic was cancelled. Many of us have also written that here. So then it goes without saying that Bettman would realize he wont see the PA's best offer until this time either. This was the whole point of all the pageantry that's happened to date - to pull that trigger back and leave it cocked, locked, and ready to go off. Also known as exercising their leverage.

So here we are. This was the point when most were expecting something would start to happen because no one really wants to go forward off the fiscal cliff.

Bettman paid good money for a focus group report that advised him to steal the players phrase of 'shared sacrifice' when selling the return of hockey. Now is the time when the players would expect to see some actions behind those words.

So far, this whisper rumour campaign that the owners are contemplating doing the right thing that everyone realizes is necessary if they are to compromise to get a deal rather than scorch the earth for one, doesnt really sound like much as usual. To make whole player contracts in this first year only, a year where there is no chance of them getting their full contracts anyway because the season will be shortened, and contracts pro-rated, and thus whole value only a portion of full value is a typically misleading offer from the offers. Hopefully there's more behind it than that.

But now we are in the last month - on the edge of the cliff. A lot of players dont want to go over it and would rather find an agreement. A lot of owners dont want to go over it and would rather find an agreement. Bettman has already won his principle and they are now haggling over the final few touches on the deal: you gotta throw in the appliances and pay for a roof inspection type stuff.

Can Bettman accept victory and give us hockey for Christmas? Probably another month of teetering on the cliff. Hopefully the only noise we hear going forward is from those not involved in negotiations.

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