|NHL lockout: no labor deal, no season. Owners, players chiefs didn't play poker
||[Jan. 28th, 2005|05:05 pm]
Jack The Pot
Hopes of last-minute salvaging the 2004/05 NHL season evaporated when representatives of the disputing sides ended their low-level New York meeting held at an undisclosed location on January 27 with no deal. The NHL and the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) said no plans for further talks have been drawn. |
Representatives of team owners and locked-out players were discussing the longstanding labour dispute for 11 hours, as more than half the campaign and more than 700 professional hockey games had already been lost.
Since the two sides have been unable to resolve the labour dispute, the time to save even a partial season (February 2 is the actual of deadline in the issue) has almost run out.
Thursday's NHL-NHLPA meeting followed negotiations in Toronto 24 hours earlier.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his counterpart in the negotiations, the players’ union executive director Bob Goodenow, did not take part in the meeting.
The discussions yesterday were focused on finding a kind of common ground from which to negotiate.
The main obstacle is still the demand from team owners for a form of salary cap.
Arguing that they have lost $1.8 billion over the last 10 years and close to $0.5 billion in the last two years, owners have demanded "cost certainty" in any new deal in a bid to gain control of rocketing payrolls. NHLPA has interpreted that as a salary cap, something they have vowed never to accept.
The labour dispute between NHL and NHLPA could probably have been settled otherwise: in late December, PokerRoom.com, one of the world's largest online poker gaming sites, proposed a way find the NHL lockout solution.
On December 22, PokerRoom.com delivered registered letters to NHL commissioner and NHL Players' Association chief Bob Goodenow's Toronto office, inviting them to settle the longstanding labour dispute “like men - in a game of winner-take-all poker on PokerRoom.com.”
Despite an advertising and slightly humoristic nature of the proposal, many had taken it seriously. In the spirit of NHL and NHLPA’s respective bargaining positions, poker could probably have helped in reconciliation and finding a much-needed compromise.
The two-stage online tournament would feature a game of limit Texas Hold'em poker with a cap of four raises, followed by a heads-up, one-on-one game of no-limit Texas Hold'em. The first player to capture all his opponent's chips wins the challenge and the season is saved. It seems that neither Mr. Bettman nor Mr. Goodenow are truly prepared to end this conflict and save the season.
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