NHL lockout: Momentum lost as frustrations rise

Jonathan Daniel

Representatives of the NHL and NHLPA appeared to be doing so well in negotiating an end to the lockout and a new CBA. Friday, all those gains may have been lost as tensions rose across the bargaining table.

The NHL and NHLPA were making progress after four days of meetings in New York, but all of that progress was for naught as the goodwill that both sides were showing quickly turned sour Friday night. According to ESPNNewYork.com, there was some tense exchanges between players and owners who were in attendance, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

The NHLPA thought they were getting closer to a deal, but apparently the two sides continue to have issues with the "make whole" portion of the contract. The two sides are approximately $380 million apart, and a deal is not even close:

"We looked at some of the numbers on the various proposals and we thought we were much closer together on the structure of a deal than the suggestions were," said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. " came back to us and said, 'No, we're very, very far apart on the structure of a deal."'

Economics is at the center of this lockout: The league is trying to reduce the amount of revenue that the players receive, but the players still want what is owed to them from recently signed contracts. The league is reportedly looking to offer "make whole" contracts for the first and second years, and Fehr was quick to point that the NHL does not plan on honoring the entirety of current contracts.

Another sticking point: The NHL feels its latest proposal was not relayed to the players correctly, and that is something Fehr vehemently denies. Fehr went on to say that the NHL's proposal was made in front of players, for all to hear. On Friday, Fehr also told reporters that there were just four owners who were part of the NHL's bargaining committee have attended meetings.

Tension's are still clearly high, but Bettman says that he wants to do "whatever it takes" to end the lockout:

"We're available and, as I said, we're waiting to hear back from the players' association in terms of when they'll be ready."

Doing whatever it takes would be to meet around the clock and get the NHL season started as soon as possible.

Fehr's final comment was that he "does not know what will happen next," although the two sides are scheduled to meet again Saturday.

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