Well surprise, SURPRISE, the mediation didn’t fix the broken negotiations. Both sides agreed on that today and note that this is one of the few things that they have agreed them. Not being the proverbial fly on the wall, all we truly know is the bottom line results. But recent actions might be summarized as:
- The players finally made the offer they should have made just before the lockout was initiated.
- The owners have drawn a line in the sand and they expect the players to come over to their side.
The owners line has a few blurry spots, but the players are going to have to get onto the owners side with the majority of their body. Yes, they can straddle the line [like can you remember the straddle the line technique in preventing an off side?] in a few of the points to maintain a few things they want to hold on to, but we are now seeing, that the owners accomplishment of their purpose far exceeds any compromise and any need to play hockey.
But we cannot hold the players blameless. Just the fact that they held off starting the negotiation process for so long is shameful. Not responding to the owners offers point by point, not presenting their own ideas in a timely manner— all shameful.
Some have blamed the deadlock on the negotiating principals, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr . Sure there may be some. The lead bulls of the herds always lock horns. But it may be more that Bettman is sitting at the table with a full house and a stacked deck and Fehr does not even have a pair. He has a couple of high cards, but can’t win. he knows it, but is trying every thing in the book to try to salvage a few chips.
Thus the mediation was just an exercise, actually an exercise in futility, sort of a nothing ventured, nothing gained.