Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Cross Checks [Print without images]

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Gary Bettman responds to NHLPA proposal

By ESPN.com staff

UPDATED: 8:23 p.m. ET

Shortly after Donald Fehr said he had been advised by the league that the NHLPA’s latest proposal was “not acceptable,” Gary Bettman addressed the media:

- The sense of optimism “almost inexplicably” disappeared on Wednesday afternoon after having such a good day on Tuesday.

- Owners pushed hard to get a new deal last night and the union’s response was “shockingly silent.”

- Owners in the room were beside themselves at the players’ reaction.

- Key was to have a long-term agreement with the players. “That’s what our fans deserve.”

- League is going to take a deep breath and regroup.

- "Things that we added this week are off the table.”

- The Make Whole provision in its entirety as a concept is off the table.

- Denies that the league has set a drop-dead date for cancelling the season, not even internally.

- On decertification: “We don’t view it in the same way in terms of its impact as apparently the union may.”

- League is not interested in bringing back mediators as the NHLPA requested.

- Can’t envision playing less than a 48-game season.

- Accused Fehr of using spin to make it appear the two sides are closer than where the league thinks they are.

- On this being the third lockout under his watch: “It’s absolutely something that torments me.”

Bill Daly's remarks:

- Said five-year player contract limits hugely important to NHL, as is 10-year CBA term

- Term limit on player contracts is so important to league, it’s “the hill we’ll die on.”

- Owners were “insulted” by players’ reaction to NHL’s offer last night.

- Confirmed the league dropped proposed changes to entry level, arbitration and unrestricted free agency, but keeping that the same is now off the table.