Hockey negotiators back to the bargaining table
NEW YORK — Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are heading back to the bargaining table.
The leaders of the NHL and NHL Players’ Association were scheduled to resume negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement Monday evening with a large supporting cast at their sides.
The two men discussed the possibility of taking a break from talks last week, but Fehr thought it would be best if the sides continued to meet. The NHLPA’s executive director initiated the gathering at the NHL’s New York office and was responsible for setting its agenda.
The union held internal meetings on Monday afternoon. The evening bargaining session was expected to include owners, general managers and players along with the key negotiators for each side.
It will be the first time they’ve sat down together since Nov. 11, when talks broke off after the fifth formal session in six days.
The sides have been unable to agree on proposed changes to player contract rights and how to share revenue, and will also need to sort out how they pay for the damage of a lockout.
With the labour dispute dragging on, players continued to take public shots at the NHL’s leadership. In an interview on TSN Radio 1050 on Monday afternoon, Florida Panthers forward Kris Versteeg invoked strong language while suggesting Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly should be fired.
“You’ve got to look for the cancers and you’ve got to cut out the cancers,” Versteeg told the radio station. “I think when you look at Bill Daly and Gary Bettman they’ve been looting this game for far too long.”
On Friday, Detroit Red Wings defenceman Ian White told reporters that he thinks Bettman is an “idiot.”
Players missed their third paycheques last week and all regular-season games have been wiped off the schedule through Nov. 30. Further cancellations are expected to come off the schedule this week.