Update: Various media outlets are reporting that progress was made yesterday. Per former Duck Mathieu Schneider, now an NHLPA rep:
“In general, when you’re dealing with collective bargaining, when you start to have agreements on smaller issues, it can lead to bigger issues.”
Specifically the sides agreed to increase testing for performance enhancing drugs. Big whoop but as suggested finding agreement and dispensing with issues builds momentum to finding agreement on the core economic issues.
Steve Fehr, Counsel to the NHLPA said much the same:
“I don’t want to use the adjective optimistic, but it was a productive discussion. We had a good session and hopefully it will continue and build momentum.”
Even NHL assistant- Commissioner Bill Daly agrees:
“In fairness, we do have to cover these issues if we’re going to reach an agreement. What we’re doing today is important, it’s just not the most important things we can be doing.”
The respective major domos from the NHL and NHLPA have scheduled meetings today and through weekend. These are the first formal meetings since the lockout two weeks ago. In and of itself that alone should be reason for hope. This blog sees more.
The purpose of the weekend meetings is to table mostly non-economic issues such as health and safety. In other words, the grand poohbas will consider the less controversial and provocative items. The topics upon which it is easier to reach agreement. The idea is you begin agreeing on this and that and pretty soon you have momentum building toward finding common ground on the more contentious issues.
In practice, I’m not one for tea leaf reading. I’ve always hated those moments outside the courtroom or in the bar waiting on a decision and second guessing the trial or hearing. As with all unanswerable questions, it’s a complete waste of time.
Fact is, while everybody has opinions, nobody knows how long this lockout will last. What we do know is that the negotiators have agreed to meet and deal with issues easier to resolve. Given that they weren’t formally engaged at all and that they’ve agreed on what to talk about it, is evidence of modest progress.
For any policy wonks and employment law practioners out there, Sean Gordon and Elliotte Friedman, each of the Globe and Mail, address the yin and yang of collusion.
Like Friedman, I too considered collusion was the unwritten rule that Devellano referenced. The reaction of the NHL, a $250,000.00 fine, is a STFU if there ever was one.
In hockey the written rule prohibits tripping. The unwritten rule is that you trip to prevent a scoring opportunity. It’s as true on the ice as it is in the boardroom.