Daly tells the NHLPA: 'It's your move'

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. (BRIAN DONOGH, QMI AGENCY)

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. (BRIAN DONOGH, QMI AGENCY)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:39 PM ET

Members of the NHL Players' Association are renowned for their slick moves, but they will have to dangle something eye-catching in front of league negotiators if serious collective bargaining -- let alone the season -- is to begin.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told QMI Agency in a exclusive interview Thursday from New York that talks with the NHLPA will be stalled until the union is willing to show compromise and put a new offer on the table.

"They've made one proposal," Daly said. "They've stood by one proposal. It's almost like their approach is, 'Until you're ready to agree to our proposal which we think is visionary, progressive and will advance the sport, we're not prepared to negotiate.' And, so at this point, we need to see that they're prepared to negotiate."

Talks broke down between the two sides Tuesday in New York with no formal discussions planned. The belief is NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has been working on a new offer but isn't ready to table it.

Daly said the NHL, after making a new offer Sept. 12, won't make the next move because it is worried about negotiating against itself.

"Of course you have to be concerned about that," Daly said. "Really, what we're looking for is any kind of signal that they are prepared to compromise and do a fair deal. Absent of that signal we're kind of in a holding pattern."

Speaking just hours before the NHL on Thursday officially cancelled the start of the season, Daly said while business has grown since the previous CBA was signed in 2005, the players can no longer take home 57% of the revenues.

"The economics have to be adjusted," he said. "For the most part, we're very satisfied with the system that our most recent CBA set up. I think it has been good for the sport, I think it has been good for the players. I think it can continue to be good for the sport but the economics weren't right and can be adjusted.

"We have to lessen the percentage of revenues going to the players. That doesn't mean on a gross basis they'll get (fewer) dollars going forward because if the sport is healthy and if the sport is stable -- such that we can continue to grow our revenues on a strong basis -- the players will benefit and share in that the way they have the last seven years."

Daly refused to reveal how much teams are losing except to say the NHL wasn't trying to snow anybody.

"I could (quantify the losses). I'm choosing not to for a host of reasons," he said. "I'm not sure it advances the debate all that much and then it gets into their (the union's) interpretation of financials versus our interpretation of financials. I just don't think that's constructive to the process.

"The bottom line is: If we made a decision, which we obviously have, that we're better off not playing until we have a new agreement, we must have pretty good reasons for making that decision."

Daly noted the tone of the negotiations was "different" than in 2004-05 when Bob Goodenow was at the head of the union. Many think the two sides need to lock themselves in a room to make a deal, but Daly disagrees.

"I don't think it's a commitment or lack thereof to the negotiating process," he said. "It's how to move the process forward. I'm not sure sitting in a room and staring at each other if you don't have something meaningful to say really advances the process all that much."

Daly still has hope the sides can bridge the gap.

"I've always felt there is a deal to be made but so far it has proven me too optimistic in that regard."

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


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