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Westgarth talks about negotiating with owners

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Old
12-10-2012, 10:22 AM
  #1
LadyStanley
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Westgarth talks about negotiating with owners

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/sp...alks.html?_r=0

As a Princeton grad, he somewhat feels the need to excel at all aspects of his life.

Quote:
“There are a half-dozen or more players who knew exactly where we were and could detail every aspect of where we were at,” Westgarth said, referring to last week’s talks. The league brought in four owners to join Jeremy Jacobs of Boston and Murray Edwards of Calgary in the negotiations.
“It became obvious that the guys they brought in had nowhere near a complete understanding of what the proposals were and where we were in the negotiations,” Westgarth said. “I thought it was great that Ron Burkle, Larry Tanenbaum, Mark Chipman and Jeff Vinik got involved — clearly they’re passionate and care about the game — but it shows how tightly controlled the league is.”

...
“Part of their tactics is to demonize Don — we’ve seen it before,” Westgarth said. The settlement ending the 2004-5 lockout was not signed by the union’s executive director at the time, Bob Goodenow. He had been excluded from the process.
Westgarth was asked if the players would agree to another set of talks without Donald Fehr present at all times.
“I think it would be unreasonable to restrict who is in the room, but that’s a decision for a great number of players to make,” he said.

Interesting that the owners were not as "briefed"/knowledgeable about the status as the players in last week's meetings.

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12-10-2012, 11:26 AM
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Alarming, if true. Even more alarming though is that only "a half-dozen or more" players know exactly where things stand"? 6+ out of 700+ players? Wow.

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12-10-2012, 11:28 AM
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Alarming, if true. Even more alarming though is that only "a half-dozen or more" players know exactly where things stand"? 6+ out of 700+ players? Wow.
I think he's referring to the number of players at the meetings - not saying that no one else knew where things stood.

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12-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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Right the owners didn't know where things stood yet somehow they got down to negotiating major topics within a couple of hours. Somehow I doubt it.

But let's play along...even if the owners weren't informed going in they sure as heck were when they walked out in disgust.

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12-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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So 60+% of the players in the meeting, and a huge percentage of the owners in the meeting didn't know exactly where things stood. I guess the sides really did want a fresh perspective on the issues. LOL.

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12-10-2012, 11:34 AM
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Did they not understand, or were they attempting to set their own narrative?

I'm skeptical of anything said by anyone in this process.

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12-10-2012, 11:34 AM
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This just confirms that Bettman is not a "spokesperson." He's like the financial advisor/planner to an athlete. The advisor will say do your taxes this way, put part of your $ here, open up X account, etc and the player will nod his head usually after asking maybe a couple questions and then sign. The player doesn't wanna deal with the headache of negotiating the details of his contract or figuring out his taxes so he hires agents and accountants.

NHL owners are probably in the same way. They have other things to be doing, they want their accountants to take care of the money flow to make sure it goes smoothly and they want Bettman to take care of the CBA. They might give him a bit of input but the majority of them are not taking the time to learn in detail this CBA or the proposed ones or the whole picture. I doubt many of them would even know the type of proposal required to actually benefit the "poor teams." It's ridiculous how the high cap floor has been a problem but no new proposal manages to fix that outside of slightly changing the mid-point.

Gary Bettman (and possibly a small group of owners) in sum are the guys who do the negotiations and rather than being told by the other owners what to do, they probably advise the other owners on what's good/bad and they simply agree.

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12-10-2012, 11:35 AM
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What? I thought the players wanted to bring in Fehr because they were at a massive disadvantage against these moderate owners and now we find out that these owners are in fact uninformed?

Should have rolled them, Westgarth.

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12-10-2012, 11:37 AM
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“It became obvious that the guys they brought in had nowhere near a complete understanding of what the proposals were and where we were in the negotiations,” Westgarth said. “I thought it was great that Ron Burkle, Larry Tanenbaum, Mark Chipman and Jeff Vinik got involved — clearly they’re passionate and care about the game — but it shows how tightly controlled the league is.”

These owners have lots of other business owners and are kind of aloof and probably let Bettman handle everything.

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12-10-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tantalum View Post
Right the owners didn't know where things stood yet somehow they got down to negotiating major topics within a couple of hours. Somehow I doubt it.

But let's play along...even if the owners weren't informed going in they sure as heck were when they walked out in disgust.
Both great points. The most progress made was with a bunch of guys who didn't know what was going on? I don't buy it.


Last edited by Crease: 12-10-2012 at 01:53 PM. Reason: qdp
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12-10-2012, 11:53 AM
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Westgarth, Hainsey, Parros, Backes, Malholtra, Doan, Crombeen and Darche were among those at the meetings and they are all listed as part of the NHLPA negotiating committee. That would be a "half-dozen or more" who would have been directly involved in this process.

Burkle, Tanenbaum, Chipman and Vinik haven't had that level of involvement before last week. It looks like they picked things up pretty quickly, anyway.

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12-10-2012, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heaton View Post
Both great points. The most progress made was with a bunch of guys who didn't know what was going on? I don't buy it.
Progress which quickly imploded, maybe *because* there was some confusion (either real or faked) on both sides about what exactly the demands and offers are?

I think this all makes perfect sense actually given that we went from "a deal might happen soon" to "eff this crap, I'm going home" in about a 12 hour period of time.

Remember, the negotiators at these meetings spoke for themselves but also had the duty of speaking for a large group of interests, not all of them always on the same page. I think it would be almost weirder if the newly brought in owners were exactly on the same page as Jacobs and Bettman with regards to everything.

I think we have to remember that these aren't just lawyers and accountants hammering out things, there's egos at the table on both sides.

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12-10-2012, 12:08 PM
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Anything's possible I guess. I personally find it almost incomprehensible that the league would allow 4 guys into that room with even one of the Fehrs or any of the negotiating committee, and not have them read up on the current status of negotiations.

If it is true, it's an almost stunning lack of preparedness on the part of Bettman and Jacobs. Sorry, just can't quite see it.

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12-10-2012, 12:23 PM
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Anything's possible I guess. I personally find it almost incomprehensible that the league would allow 4 guys into that room with even one of the Fehrs or any of the negotiating committee, and not have them read up on the current status of negotiations.

If it is true, it's an almost stunning lack of preparedness on the part of Bettman and Jacobs. Sorry, just can't quite see it.
It's all posturing. Every player and every owner had enough familiarity with the issues to be in the room, Daly and Steve Fehr were in there and Bettman/Donald Fehr were stalking the corridors advising everyone every chance the got. Remember this wasn't a marathon session where no one could leave the room. There were lots of chances for both sides to coordinate with their leaders.

The idea that each side didn't know exactly what was discussed or what could be offered/accepted is ludicrous.


Last edited by Freudian: 12-10-2012 at 12:35 PM.
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12-10-2012, 12:30 PM
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I seriously doubt it. Just like I doubt pretty much everything that comes out in any medium for either side anymore. Fans should not be a fiddle to be played, so stop with the subversion and stick to negotiating if you actually care about the game.

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12-10-2012, 12:40 PM
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It's so difficult taking any meaningful conclusion away from an anecdote like this. With so many players, there are more opportunities for some players to really get into CBA and it's negotiations because it's something they are interested in, savvy enough to engage and generally have a high level of interest in it. Likewise there are players out there who might not even know what the acronym CBA stands for.

Likewise I am sure there are owners out there who simply don't have the time to engage these negotiations on a micro level in the detail that's necessary. I doubt there are many owners who have made the time and effort available to follow everything for 3 month period.

So basically Westgarth saw this as an opportunity to get engaged, has done so, and I'm sure it's relatively convenient for him given he has no job at the moment. I'm not sure what his point really is. There are undoubtedly posters on this business of hockey board who can say the same thing.

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12-10-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heaton View Post
Both great points. The most progress made was with a bunch of guys who didn't know what was going on? I don't buy it.
Just because the players are informed doesn't mean they're skilled negotiators


Last edited by Crease: 12-10-2012 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Not necessary
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12-10-2012, 01:03 PM
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The idea that each side didn't know exactly what was discussed or what could be offered/accepted is ludicrous.
In your opinion.

I can easily see a couple of the owners walking in with minimal information and just being there to "help" negotiations along.

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12-10-2012, 01:04 PM
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This is a bit off-topic, but I always wonder if we'd be in this position right now had the PA approved of the owners' re-alignment plan. Deep down, I suspect the owners resent the PA's rejection, taken as a slash to their manhoods.
The owners' realignment plan was a message from the owners to the players about what this CBA negotiation was going to look like. The message was -- we don't need to consult with you on how to run the league; we make the offer, you say yes or you don't work.

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12-10-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian View Post
It's all posturing. Every player and every owner had enough familiarity with the issues to be in the room, Daly and Steve Fehr were in there and Bettman/Donald Fehr were stalking the corridors advising everyone every chance the got. Remember this wasn't a marathon session where no one could leave the room. There were lots of chances for both sides to coordinate with their leaders.

The idea that each side didn't know exactly what was discussed or what could be offered/accepted is ludicrous.
The issues are complex enough, it would be very easy to get a number or detail or even more so a relationship between two details wrong even if you had been briefed. Especially given how much in the art of negotiation is said and understood *between* the lines. It might very well be that Fehr for example understood something said by Bettman a certain way, told players about it, who then talked to owners informed by Bettman about what he thought he had said. Even the presence of S. Fehr and Daly wouldn't really rule out the potential for misunderstanding here.

Negotiations are so much about psychology, just look at Bettman's statement at the end of those talks, that was either masterful manipulation or the worn psyche of a stressed man - either way a testament to the psychological element here. If robots sat at that table then we would either have robots shooting lasers at each other or a deal.

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12-10-2012, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/sp...alks.html?_r=0

As a Princeton grad, he somewhat feels the need to excel at all aspects of his life.




Interesting that the owners were not as "briefed"/knowledgeable about the status as the players in last week's meetings.
I think it's interesting to note that he is using the same arguments that the owners expressed in respect to the dissemination of info by Don Fair to what the owners were offering only weeks ago? Turnabout is fair play even though it's disingenuos and unimaginative. I suppose then the players that were doing their best to demonize Bettman are now asking why it is that the NHL is suddenly demonizing Don.

Westgarth was on HC at Noon today with Millard/Kypreos/MacLean

Maclean asked him point blank if the 300m was tied to the 3 specific items, I'll give Westgarth this, he gave the longest answer possible and didn't answer the question. Obsfucation at it's finest, not even Nick was sure how to defend his obvious avoidance.


Last edited by therealkoho: 12-10-2012 at 01:47 PM.
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Old
12-10-2012, 01:42 PM
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“Part of their tactics is to demonize Don — we’ve seen it before,” Westgarth said.



All that needs to be said.

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12-10-2012, 01:46 PM
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Should probably get this out there as well:


We have gone a lot further than a great percentage of the membership has wanted us to go,” Westgarth said. “I don’t know how you look at our offer and say that we’ve been unreasonable.”

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12-10-2012, 01:47 PM
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I hope they don't invite Miller back to talks. He picked a fight with Jeremy Jacobs. Fighting a 70 year old man lol.
Jacobs was way out of his office.

Fair game IMHO.

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12-10-2012, 01:48 PM
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^^^^^^^^

now that's funny

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