Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bettman out

Yesterday, Gary Bettman said: "We are increasing our offer of yesterday by increasing the maximum individual team cap to $44.7 million ($42.5 million in salary and $2.2 million in benefits). This offer is not an invitation to begin negotiations - it's too late for that.

This is our last effort to make a deal that's fair to the players and one that the clubs (hopefully) can afford. We have no more flexibility and there is no time for further negotiation."

Today he said: "Well, if they had suggested a $45 million cap, that might've changed something."

That's the man the NHLPA was bargaining with. As soon as the negotiations become open to the press, it became apparent to me that the players' union was making all the concessions and that Bettman had no intention of compromise, and perhaps no intention of reaching an agreement. The players gave in on the key difference: a salary cap. They threw in a 24% salary rollback across the board. It wasn't enough.

The players didn't have a serious partner in negotiations, and now the hockey season is cancelled, something that two world wars failed to achieve. It's time for Gary Bettman to go. Now.