GARY BETTMAN’S RED HERRING


Seems like everyone in the hockey world is anxious to see Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr get together on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by Thursday so that both sides can save Bettman’s vesion of an 82-game schedule.

What’s the rush?

Bettman has said that a new deal needs to be done by this Thursday if the league is to go ahead with a full season of NHL hockey, beginning November 2nd.  The league has already cancelled games through Nov. 1st, so clearly there is very little wiggle room here.

I can appreciate why Bettman has pulled out his stop watch in an effort to get the players to agree to the league’s latest offer. But like I said:

What’s the rush? Would a 72-game season be so bad??

Yes, an 82-game schedule would be nice. Delightful, even.  And, like I said, I can appreciate why Bettman would want to get a deal done sooner, rather than later.  But it seems to me that Bettmen (and Donald Fehr, for that matter) has bigger fish to fry (pun intented): like getting back to the bargaining table.  And talking.  Really talking.  And if that conversation, should it take place, continue through Thursday, well, who cares.

Just negotiate, already.  I mean, seriously. Get on the same page, and get a deal done.

Stop with the Monty Hall “Let’s Make a Deal” school of negotiating: as Fehr pulled out not one, not two, but THREE proposals for the league to chew on last week. (Pick me, Gary! Pick me!!)  None of the proposals were particularly tasty, and Bettman spit them right back at the union.

Oh. And by the way.  It’s not often that we hear the words “Bettman” and “Brilliant” used in the same sentence: but, after pleading with Fehr to show the owners something, anything, Bettman takes the bull by the horns and presents an offer that, if nothing else, scores plenty of brownie points with the fans. Two points for Bettman in the public relations battle. A nice piece of work by the Commish, for what it was worth.

So, he we are.  Thirty-five days into the lockout, with no new talks scheduled.  Bill Daly and Steve Fehr did chat yesterday over the phone.  How nice.  How about Gary and Don get on the phone?  That would be swell.  If they can actually get a deal done this week, even sweller.

But let’s set aside the concept of an 82-game season for now, shall we, and simply work on saving the season. Period.

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. These days you can catch me high above centre ice in the press box at the Bell Centre, covering the Montreal Canadiens for CJAD Radio, and on-line at CJAD.COM. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw

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