OP/ED: Time to Call In Federal Mediators

In the nine days that have passed with no movement on CBA talks, representatives from the NHL & NHLPA have been very forth-coming in the media expressing their displeasure towards the other side. However, with the NHLPA dragging their feet through initial negotiations, Alex Ovechkin threatening to stay in Russia if the players give in again to steep NHL demands and Gary Bettman threatening to cancel the Winter Classic earlier than necessary, it has become apparent, at least to myself, the two sides currently cannot negotiate in good faith.

That's why I'm calling on the NHL Board of Governors and the NHL Players Association to agree to let federal mediators in on talks going forward. In the last lockout, the NHL and NHLPA waited until February 13th, 2005 before agreeing to allow a third party at the negotiating table. But by then it was too little, too late and Bettman cancelled the season on February 16th. Fence mending needs to take place now. The sides need to find some common ground so they are able establish a foundation towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

I'm no longer going to throw around numbers and percentages that even the most die-hard of fans don't really care about. Ultimately, we just want to see the hierarchy of the NHL and NHLPA actually care enough to get a fair deal completed to ensure the health and well-being of our favorite sport for the next several years to come.

Follow me on twitter: @theNYRblogneill
Email me: c1rcaiff27@comcast.net