Ominous clouds are starting to make their way over the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman recently stated that the owners and players are far apart. The current CBA expires on September 15th and Bettman has said in the past that a new CBA must be reached for there to be a 2012-13 season. The next negotiation between the NHL and NHLPA is slated for this coming Wednesday.
Here are a few CBA thoughts from some Predators players at tonight’s Skate of the Union festivities:
“I’m hoping [a deal gets done], for sure, but I don’t know if it will be right on time. The good thing is there’s been a lot of talks, lots of negotiations back and forth. We feel like progress is being made but it’s going to take time. Hopefully something will get done but I don’t know if camp will start on time.
“No one wants no hockey. The momentum in the game [of hockey] – this franchise is a perfect example of the growth its seen; a lot of teams are seeing that. Everyone is excited about the game, so to have a stoppage would be really bad. We want to avoid that at all costs, for sure.”
“It’s different because last time (in 2004-05) there were so many drastic changes and I think it had to be done. They wanted more parity in the league, a more economically-stable system for the teams to be able to compete with each other financially. This time, both sides really want to get it done and I think they are working hard to find common ground. Now that both proposals are out there, hopefully the serious discussions can start. The next couple weeks will be really telling with how that develops.”
“It’s a different feel to the whole negotiations process than last time, but right now it’s wait-and-see and there are lots of negotiations develop and play out of it. You don’t know too much of what’s going on in the room sometimes and I’m trying to stay up to date to it as much as possible. We want to get this thing done on the 15th.
“We’re prepared. I figured this was going to happen, so it’s not frustrating at this point. It’s just looking to see how things unravel.”
“I hope it gets done. I’m very excited about what the player union has done. Their offer was very well thought out and all I can say is hopefully they can get it done – I don’t want to step on any toes.
“I’m on the same schedule that I’ve always been on. I’m planning to be here and ready for training camp on the start date whether it’s looking like [there will be an agreement] or not. As soon as you get complacent, that’s when the season starts and you’re not ready.”