Is it a Bad Sign that NHL CBA Talks Haven’t Started Yet?

Even though we’re still only in March, September 15 is approaching way too quickly for many NHL fans and team owners. And the fact that the league and the Players’ Association aren’t talking yet has them even more anxious. September 15 of course, is the date that the current NHL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires; and if there’s not a new one in place by that date, everyone’s looking at the one thing they’re trying to avoid — a lockout. So, is it a bad sign that talks haven’t even started? Or should fans and owners wait until the summer before they really start to panic?

In order to determine whether or not it’s time to start worrying, you need to go back to negotiations made prior to the 2004-2005 lockout and see where negotiations were at this time back then. In early January of 2003, commissioner Gary Bettman and then-NHLPA executive director, Bob Goodenow, met to talk about the deal that was going to expire in nine months. Then by the end of March, a total of eight meetings had been held. That’s nine meetings in three months that were held prior to April in 2003. In March 2012 however, no meetings have been scheduled and everyone’s keeping mum about it. Bettman keeps giving his “business as usual” line, indicating that teams should keep operating as they are and not worry about the CBA. And he’s even gone as far to say, “There’s nothing going on.”

So do fans and owners have reason to worry?

Probably not. There is a major difference between this CBA and the one that was so mightily fought over in 2003. That difference is that this time, the only real major issue is how high the salary cap will be. And that’s not even going to be that major. Last time, there were dozens of major issues, including the salary cap but also restructuring the entire league, how free agency works, and drug testing. And no one, including Gary Bettman, wants to see a waste of an entire season again.

The fact that the two sides haven’t sat down to talk yet might actually be an indication that things will be smoother this time around, not more difficult. What do you think? Do you think NHL fans will miss a portion, or all, of their season again?

Leave a Reply

About Us | Contact Us | Link to Us | Phone: 1.800.985.7882
Copyright © 2007-2011 All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use