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The National Hockey League's lockout of its players does not seem likely to end any time soon, with owners and league management demanding more, more, more from the players.
Everyone knows the NHL and players’ association can’t agree on how to split their revenue, but Sunday’s meeting exclusively addressed the league’s proposed player contract restrictions.
The "candid discussion," as [NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill] Daly called it, confirmed two basic facts: first, the owners are just as adamant about changing contract rules as they are about altering the revenue structure; second, the players have no interest in giving away contract rights, especially since those rights were acquired after the 2004-05 lockout in exchange for financial concessions.
Got that? In 2004-2005, the owners gave some contract rights to get some money. In 2012, the owners are demanding both money and contract rights. And they won't budge on any of it.
For this from an individual in the room for Friday’s negotiating sessions and confirmed word-for-word by Slap Shots by a source across the aisle:
"Near the end of the meeting, Don [Fehr] said to Gary [Bettman]: 'Let me get this straight. Even if the players agree to every single component of the league’s economic plan, we still don’t have a deal unless we also agree to every one of your proposed changes to player contract rights?'"
To which, both of our sources reported, "Gary said: 'Yes.'"
While that's the New York Post with anonymous sources, public statements from both sides support that this is where negotiations are, with the players union being told that it's all or nothing. That's not negotiation, it's the owners demanding total capitulation.