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12-06-2012, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MoreOrr View Post
They're looking to protect their jobs and reputations. If this all gets resolved with the appearance of not needing them or being better off without them, then... well you know.
I don't know. I think the players eyes were opened up a bit when the sans-Bettman negotiating team complete with moderate owners is sticking pretty firm to the contract length and lack of back diving on the contracts. I think we'll also find they hold firm on full linkage. If so then it is clear that these things were set out to Bettman as his goals to achieve in the negotiation. Nothing has drastically changed from the owners side of the table without bettman there, which would be the case if the demands Bettman was relaying to the PA were representative of the path set out by the BOG.

It's why these meetings were, I think, more dangerous for Fehr and the PA. Fehr likely knew this but he also knew he couldn't stop the meeting without coming off as an unwilling negotiating partner. It was a Bettman/league suggestion they do this and Bettman doesn't make that suggestion or put people in the room who don't basically share the same goals they had been trying to achieve. Bettman knew that without him the position from his side of the table was unlikely to change. Bettman also knew from past negotiations that if you can get the PA membership away from the leadership and talk to them that you can drive a wedge through the union. It's how the last lockout was ended after all.

It seems that Bettman as the lightening rod and the owners in shining armor on white horses is simply the league strategy. Bettman plays his part very well and is why he has been rewarded handsomely and allowed to play that role for a third lockout.

So we'll see what happens this afternoon but it appears things are on a knife edge. Are the owners bluffing that they won't move much further or are they serious? If Fehr makes the wrong call it could cost the players a lot more money.

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