Bettman: “Structurally, the fundamentals of the [CBA] system have done what we expected, but I assume that when we sit down to bargain, both sides are going to have issues they want to focus on. But I have no intention of being specific yet on where we are.”
Guess he does not want to tip his hand.
And on the two top sales' progress:
On the Phoenix Coyotes situation: “You’ve heard me say this more times than I care to say it: It remains a work in progress. There’s still a number of groups that are engaged in the process, and we’re still in close contact with the city. At some point, we may have to [turn the page]. I’m hoping not to get to that point, and I’m not setting a deadline for it.” On the St. Louis Blues ownership change: “Continues to be on track for Tom Stillman’s purchase of the club. I got an update from him as recently as yesterday that things seem to be [on track].”
One element that might further cloud the issue for the general managers is that they might not have the same tools to deal with a new salary cap that they did coming out of the lockout. When that agreement was reached in the summer of 2005, clubs were given a one-time amnesty to buy out one contract that wouldn't count against the salary cap.
Various sources told ESPN.com they don't believe such a parachute will be extended to the GMs when this deal is completed. Certainly, GMs said quietly they aren't counting on being able to simply dump a contract to get under whatever the new salary cap might look like.
Business as usual is all Bettman can really say now. Fehr has correctly hid in the weeds thus far when it has come to CBA negotiations and has not tipped his hand whatsoever, and by doing so Bettman has no ammo or no starting point to attack the players with. He can't even hint in any way to the GM's that they should change the way they do business this summer either because it could be construed as suggesting collusion, no matter how well he walked that legal tightrope.
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP)—NHL general managers ended three days of meetings Wednesday with little discussion about upcoming collective bargaining negotiations between the league and the NHL Players’ Association.
The current agreement, that ended the season-long lockout in 2005, expires Sept. 15. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the general managers to conduct “business as usual” according to the current agreement, including working under the salary cap of between $63 million and $64 million.
“The update is, there was no update because there’s nothing going on,” Bettman said. “Whatever will be, will be.
“The fact is when the union is ready to negotiate, we’ll sit down. I’m not particularly concerned about the timeline. We have new union leadership and a lot of new personnel, and my guess is they still have a lot of work to do.”
At its request, the NHLPA was recently given initial financial information by the NHL that the union is currently reviewing. There is no timetable for discussions with the league to start.
“We are continuing to meet with players across the league as part of our preparations for the upcoming CBA negotiations,” NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said in a statement. “While we do not have a set-date for formal negotiations to begin, we expect negotiations will begin when we have players available to participate in bargaining sessions.”
Bettman also said the league’s board of governors has dropped the concept of realignment for now. The NHL was trying to introduce a plan that would move some teams, such as the relocated Winnipeg Jets who are still in the Eastern Conference, to different divisions and start the playoffs with teams in the same divisions.
The hope of realignment was tabled to avoid “confrontation” with the players’ association and because the league needed to start planning the 2012-13 season schedule.
“My guess is we’ll deal with realignment when we deal with a whole host of other issues, and our hope is we’ll get to the place where we think we should be,” Bettman said. “We thought we had a good plan, and it’s one we thought should be in effect.