Thursday, August 26, 2004

Keeping their comments to themselves

They spent five hours in discussions on Wednesday afternoon and when they exited the conference room the only thing that they had to say was no comment.

The NHL and the NHLPA have decided that they don’t want to take away from the excitement and anticipation of the World Cup of Hockey. So they won’t be talking much about how talks are progressing, or how they are not progressing while they continue to talk. Having met for the first time since their less than productive meeting last week in New Jersey, the two sides are keeping a low profile. They meet again on Thursday and say they may have something to say, after they break off discussions later in the day.

The two sides will then regroup and meet again next week in Montreal as the World Cup gets underway. Meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday will take place as the clock continues to tick down towards the September 15th deadline.

As for the players they are concentrating as much as possible on the hockey aspect of things, letting their union reps take care of the face to face consultations. Team Canada has an unusual situation to deal with, they have Wayne Gretzky running the program who just happens to be the one of the owners of the Phoenix Coyotes, while on the ice there’s Mario Lemieux, well documented as the owner the Pittsburgh franchise. Needless to say the collective agreement is not getting much discussion in between the skating drills and other preparations for the World Cup.

Even with the cone of silence in place, the subtle indications are that the owners are preparing for a lengthy battle with their players.

But thankfully for Hockey fans the next two weeks will see the rhetoric kept below our radar, not that many would be paying attention while the game is on the ice. After that it will remain to be seen if the game is put on ice for a while.

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