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Player reaction to Thursday’s talks

In case you haven’t seen this week’s offers from the two sides, here are the links:

NHL
NHLPA

Yesterday was a terrible day in the NHL’s labor negotiations. Here are some thought from Predators players…

Mike Fisher
If optimism has gone away after yesterday…
“No, we’re still hopeful. We kind of knew what their reaction would be; that’s kind of been their reaction all along. We weren’t surprised by any means. They come with a deal, they move a little bit on theirs, we do the same to ours. Our reaction was at least honest, and they looked at ours for only 10 minutes. We moved as much or more than they did and they react that way – it’s unfortunate. It’s all a part of the process.”

If it was as big of a ‘step backwards’ as Gary Bettman said…
“If a step backwards is taking a few hundred million dollars and putting it in your pocket, that’s interesting. They’ve had the hard line all along. They’re playing a game and we know what it is. Hopefully we set those games aside in the next few weeks and get something done.”

On potential of cancelling games earlier than Oct. 25 deadline…
“They’re trying to put pressure on us, but they’re the ones that have locked us out. We’ve offered concessions and we’re trying to work towards something, while they’re trying to back us into a corner. We’re not going to force them into a corner saying this is our take it or leave it offer – we don’t have that approach. Unfortunately they do.”

Frustration on NHL not willing to negotiate…
“They are going to have to if they want to get a deal done. We know that’s the reality. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and we get back to the table and iron out some issues. We feel we’re stepping in their direction.”

If there will be games played this season…
“Absolutely. I believe there will be games. There’s too much to lose.”

Hal Gill
Thoughts on yesterday’s happenings…
“There was some excitement when we had our proposals and I thought there would be at least some conversation about it. The way things turned out, it’s frustrating and discouraging. I guess that’s the nature of the business and we have to be able to deal with that.”

If the two sides are closer than it appears…
“It seems pretty simple: honor the contracts you’ve given and after that it’s going to be 50-50. We were under the impression that 50-50 was their goal and we’re willing to meet them there, but you just can’t walk away from all the contracts that you sign. It’s frustrating, but we’ll wait it out and see what they come back with or if they do come back with anything.”

If NHL’s offer was simply a PR move…
“We were somewhat encouraged by their offer. I don’t think it was a good offer that they made, but it was something we could discuss. With our offer I thought we were giving too much, but I was excited at the prospect of talking about it and negotiating. We gave them three options so they could pick and choose how they wanted to handle it. I thought for sure it would have sparked conversation. Maybe it was a PR thing, but what a shame to worry about PR right now when you should be worrying about getting a deal done.”

If there is optimism that there will be games played this season…
“For sure. We want to play. Fans want to see hockey and I’m sure the owners want to play. But how much do they want to play? How much do they want us to get out there and do our thing? It’s seems pretty easy: they get what they want, we’re willing to sacrifice to play. I don’t see what the problem is.”

Chris Mason
Thoughts on yesterday’s happenings…
“It’s definitely disappointing, but we somewhat expected that. The fact that we submitted the offers in response to theirs and it took them 10 minutes to turn it down, it almost seems it was their plan and they knew exactly what they were going to do. I felt we spent time to look over their proposal, through all the details and they just turn ours down and say it’s disappointing right away. It’s like it was a predetermined plan.

“They hire that Frank Luntz guy to put a spin on everything and they start saying things like ‘shared sacrifice’, but realistically there is no shared sacrifice. If you look at every point of their proposal, they’re not giving up one thing. If you’re going to talk about negotiating, it’d be nice to actually negotiate. We have the conference calls and all the guys are saying ‘Let’s get this done and negotiate in good faith.’ The fact the NHL totally discards any effort we’ve made and doesn’t want to discuss anything is disappointing.

“We’re willing to work off their numbers and trying to be creative where it’s an actual negotiation. They’re disappointed because we didn’t accept their offer with only a couple of tweaks. We’re serious about playing; they just care about money.

“They have their PR guy (Luntz) spitting out all these phrases that people are buying into, but these are politicians – I would love to hear from the individual owners. They keep saying they care about the fans and care about the game. I know some of them do, but I can’t say all of them do because we don’t hear from them all. The fact Gary needs only eight owners to agree with him and move forward with any plan, what kind of system is that?”

Shea Weber
Thoughts on yesterday’s happenings…
“It’s disappointing. Obviously we put some time and effort into those proposals. For them to shoot them down that quick it shows they aren’t that serious to negotiate. It’s tough to negotiate when they lock us out and they’re not even willing to talk. We gave them 50-50, what they wanted, and it seems it’s not even worth talking about. We thought there was a good possibility to get things moving in the right direction.”

If it was NHL’s strategy to quickly reject NHLPA’s offers…
“At first we thought it was a sign from them that they were willing to negotiate, but right now it seems they were just trying to get the media on their side and force us into something. They could have offered that deal a long time ago and we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

If there is optimism that there will be games played this season…
“I hope so, but it’s hard to say. It’s going to come down to their willingness to negotiate and that’s what we thought we would get yesterday, but right now that’s not the case.”

 
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