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November 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:00 PM)

Happy Monday folks ! Let's chat !

Bruce (Detroit)

Pierre - both sides met into the early hours on Sunday and they're meeting again tomorrow which I view as a good sign. Am I wrong in assuming that if nothing gets settled within the next week we look at the real prospect of a whole season going down the shoot?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:02 PM)

I wouldn't narrow the scope to one week only, but certainly the next 7-14 days are huge, huge window.The NHL's willingness to pay a portion of the Make Whole provision has opened a door to some possible traction although there's still a lot of work to be done. And it go sideways tomorrow just as easily as having more progress. ...

Kurt (Sweden)

Pierre, do you agree Darren Dreger seems to have aged a lot during this lockout?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:03 PM)

Not at all, I think he looks younger than ever :)

John (New York)

I am hearing the owners are making a concession in regards to the make whole aspect of the CBA, is this a big deal?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:04 PM)

Yes I wrote this Friday night :) It's significant, yes, but without knowing any of the details or parameters of exactly how it would work or what it means financially to the players, hard to tell exactly how impactful it is...

Jared (Nashville)

Do we have any idea what Daly and S Fehr discussed Sat? Would it have been better news if that had been Bettman and D Fehr meeting until 1am?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:05 PM)

It was a wide-ranging discussion on a number of core economic issues... really all over the place... obviously Make Whole was a big part of it No, I think the No. 2 guys have more ability to make up ground than the No. 1 guys (same as 2004-05 when Saskin and Daly were the deal-brokers)

Harry (Montreal)

You have been optimistic all along that we would have some sort of a season this year. Do you still see that happening?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:06 PM)

Yup

Tony (Santa Monica)

Which teams still need to add pieces when a new deal is reached?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:07 PM)

Well not sure they can get it done right away but teams like Detroit and Toronto certainly have things they want to get done...But fact that NHL's last offer called for teams being able to be over the salary cap all the way to $70.2 million in year 1 as a transition phase.. means fewer teams will need to shed players or contracts as well originally thought

Jake (MN)

The NHL lockout has to be the biggest disgrace of any sports lockout?I know they are all disgraceful, but this one takes the cake above all others. This is about splitting revenues, not re-inventing the wheel. An Elementary School kid could have seen what the middle ground was between the NHL & NHLPA 2 months ago. So the fact that an 82 Game schedule is not going to be played is an absolute travesty, the fact that the Winter Classic is canceled is a crying shame, and the fact that the 2 ?Leaders? of each side have only spent mere hours in the room together is nothing short of absolutely embarrassing. Both Gary Bettman

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:12 PM)

You are ANGRY !!!

Peter (Oakville)

Why did the NHL decide to make this alleged compromise on the Make Whole provision so early in November? I thought they were going to make the players sweat it out for a while and that it was going to be a 'quiet month'? Is this urgency? Strategy? Spin?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:12 PM)

Urgency.As much pressure on league from owners to make a deal ASAP as there is from players on Fehr brothers

Bill (Vegas)

Assuming we do have a season. How much do you think the lockout will impact the popularity of the league? Considering most of us think the season is too long to begin with. The only reason I was so upset over the lockout is my fear that the entire season was going to be cancelled.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:14 PM)

I think even if we have a season, there's already been damage done. League and players are going to have to work very hard to reach back out to jilted fans who are tired of having a lockout every time CBA is up

Dennis (Flag)

Quick yes or no: will the Yotes have new owners on or before January 1, 2013?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:15 PM)

Honestly can't answer that. I've heard so many different versions of what's going on there between city and Jamison... hard to predict at this point, sorry

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:16 PM)

You missed two key elements as well:_ Ongoing re-runs of Cowboys' Super Bowl victories_ Ongoing re=runs of 1987 Canada Cup, best hockey tournament ever played in history of the sport

Robert (Winnipeg)

Do you think this weekend's marathon meeting between Fehr and Daly is a positive sign and a potential deal maybe coming or are we still a long ways offl?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:17 PM)

Positive yes. I'd say I'm cautiously optimistic _ with an emphasis on cautious. It could still go sideways in a hurry

Mike (SJ)

I get the sense that the two side are close on the big issue of HRR and honoring existing contracts. Where are they with respect to other issues: revenue sharing, Olympics & World Cups, realignment, contract lengths, trading cap space, etc?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:17 PM)

still be hashed out

Hollister (Bah-ston)

Where will the first Canadien Winter Classic be held?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:18 PM)

Well the NHL's first-ever regular-season outdoor game was actually held in Canada, Habs at Oilers in Edmonton in November 2003.Then the Heritage Classic, also outdoors, was held in Calgary in February 2010 between Habs and Flames So... there's always been two of them :)

Danny Williams (St Johns, N.L.)

Pierre, be honest, when/if the seasons starts, how do you see the season palying out for my beloved Leafs, and also james Reimer?Cheers!!

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:19 PM)

I think it's imperative for Leafs to try and get Luongo. Otherwise, I don't see them making the playoffs

J. Jacobs (Boston)

Pierre, I'm trying to figure out a way to lock out the fans. After bringing them a Stanley Cup, they haven't started chanting my name in the streets like I thought they would. Now they're angry with us, the owners, who bring them this game they so love. What do you suggest?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:20 PM)

I'd suggest you stop taking in bargaining sessions. You're not helping things

Lou (Pittsburgh)

Do you think the new CBA will address the status of restricted free agents? It has been no secret that teams generally do not pen RFA's to offer sheets as some sort of informal agreement among GM's/owners - and I've often wondered why the NHLPA hasn't cried "collusion!" on the issue? If I were a younger player on an entry level deal, I would be pushing the PA to address the issue.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:21 PM)

there hasn't been talk of this so far

Dan (Edmonton)

Pierre, thanks for answering my question. So it sounds like we may some from of season, I've moved my Optimism meter to Cautious from None. Barring any CBA related issues what are top questions the league and players have to address as the year starts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:22 PM)

If there is a season, it will be a compressed schedule, more games in fewer days. My biggest concern is health of the players _ specifically a league that is still learning to deal with all the concussions its players suffer.... Compressed schedule and concussions _ a dangerous mix

Chris (Denver)

Other than the revenue loss, what is holding back the NHL from adopting the internation size ice? It seems silly that this still exists -- imagine football games being played on variable 100-175 yard fields, or baseball with some basepaths being 115 feet long and the pitcher's mound 75 feet from the plate. Why can't the NHL be consistent with the rest of the hockey world on this?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:25 PM)

This may surprise you but rinks in Europe more and more are building smaller rinks. Not as small as North American rinks but a hybrid between international and NHL... Finland started this. SPoke to Sergei Gonchar last month about how he was enjoying playing in KHL and his only critcism was the size of the international ice. What happens on big ice is that game becomes more defensive, d-men are scared to pinch in and stay more back, etc... less offenseI covered 6 IIHF men's world championships from 2000 through 2006 and I can attest I saw a lot of 1-0 games on the big ice

Alex (Toronto)

After this weekend should we expect a 62 game season starting in December?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:26 PM)

Still too early to tell, Alex. Lots of ground to cover yet in talks

Justin (NY)

How would you feel about a scrimmage? You, Scott, Craig and Katie against Buccigross, Melrose, Levy and Cohn?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:27 PM)

Well given that Melrose played in the NHL and no one else did, I don't like my team's chances :) Although I did play for the 1990 Heart Lumberkings, Midget A ALl-Ontario champions :)hahahaha

Deepak (Toronto)

I'll get this out straight: How long before a CBA is reached?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:28 PM)

If things keep progressing on same track, within 2-3 weeks is reasonable timeline. HOWEVER, that's only if things keep going in same direction. Things can go bad in a hurry.

mark (ottawa)

when the cba is concluded, what "good will" actions will the NHL be making to improve the game and/or create buzz and excitement, similar to what they did post 2004 lockout?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:29 PM)

Great, great question, and one I can't answer at this point. League too focused on CBA right now, that's the next step but one that's not ready yet

Garrett (Long Island)

Hey Pierre! If both sides were serious about saving the season, don't you think they would have met over the past 2 weeks, so that they wouldn't have had to cancel the Winter Classic?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:33 PM)

The nature of labor talks in pro sports are unique and maddening all the same. They follow their own bizarre track and script. I mean, why did the players sacrifice an entire season in 2004-05 only to accept one anyway?It's too easy to look back on labor talks and criticize timing of events and decisions...

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Pierre, I read you piece and cancellation of the Winter Classic. Deep down are you buying the league's rationale that cancelling it had more to do with not wanting to put on a diminished version of the event within a potentially shortened season? Or did they just not want to pay the next non-refundable deposit on the stadium which coincidentally was due the next day?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:36 PM)

First of all, it's not the league's view, it's MY view.And if anyone shares it the most, it's the REd Wings, not so much the league

Martin (Quebec)

Pierre, est-ce que les freres Fher ont recus le mendat des joueurs de regler a tout prix?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:38 PM)

Regler oui, mais pas a tout prix ... ca doit etre quelque chose qui fais du sense pour la plupart pour les joueurs

Jay (boring, OH)

If something gets done, which, from things I've read, probably wouldn't be very soon, even if they are making progress, what length of season are we looking at this year? Between getting players in and getting them in game shape and not overloading the schedule so they're at greater risk of getting hurt, are we looking at than the 48 after the lockout to begin the 94-95 season? (Am I bad for not wanting a shortened season/asterik next to the Cup winners' names? I'd rather see them cancel the whole season and set up to solve all the problems so we're not here in another 7 years.)

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:39 PM)

If a CBA is in place by Nov. 20 or so... I think 65 to 70 games is possible....

Nick (Toronto)

Pierre, great work as always. Lets move away from the lockout. What are your thoughts on Luongo to Toronto, and what is a reasonable package to make it happen?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:41 PM)

Leafs are definitely in the mix. What remains to be seen is whether the NHL's new CBA language on long-term deals (which was in the last offer) will stay put in new CBA... that rule _ which proposes to charge teams a cap hit for players who retire before the end of their contracts regardless of whether they trade that player _ that would actually enhance Luongo's trade value because teams wouldn't be scared of his contract anymore... so might mean more competition for Leafs while also allowing Canucks to ask for more in return

BOB (MINNY)

Will it be S. Fehr & Daly tomorrow? Or will the big dogs join the show?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:42 PM)

Both sides still ironing out details today for tomorrow's meeting but my understanding is that larger group will return. including players, etc...

JD (PA)

Pierre, aside from the obvious sticking point of revenue sharing, do you see realignment being the other big hurdle the players and owners have to work through?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:42 PM)

Nah, that's not a major sticking point

Chris (Atlanta)

Is the league's movement on the "make-whole" provision a sign that their resolve is cracking?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:43 PM)

Nope, my sense is that they were willing all along to do this eventually

chickenman (nj)

Do either of the two parties (NHL and NHLPA) fear that there will be negative repercussions from the lockout that will not only stem the momentum that league has built over the past 5 years but will actually decrease the revenue pot that both sides are fighting over?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:44 PM)

yes, both have that fear

Don (DC)

I read earlier that some employees are slowly starting to be laid off due to this nonsense. Millionaires arguing with Millionaires. Why doesn't the NHL and NHLPA just shove their egos aside and get a mediator? It would be what is in the best interest of the situation.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:44 PM)

I wrote about just that last week. Here you go:http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/20070/mediator-wont-be-brought-in-just-yet

Don (DC )

If the labor dispute gets rectified soon, are there any hopes of salvaging the Winter Classic?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:47 PM)

Don't think so. League says no

JD (PA)

Pierre, do you think this lockout, combined with the 2004-05 one, will make the KHL look more tempting for some of the younger prospects? I mean, it's GUARANTEED work, right?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:48 PM)

I think it will for younger Russian players moving forward, no question

Marc (Malden, MA)

How much of the lockout is owner vs. owner? Only 5 teams make any real money. Then they want little revenue sharing, saying that the 15 teams that lose money need to a better job, except those 5 owners are the ones who decided to put teams in bad markets where they were destined to fail.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

There's definitely an internal element amongst teams with competing interests, no question

JD (Seattle)

What do you think are the chances the NHL expands in the next 5-7 years?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

Good

Marc (Malden, MA)

JJ would never lockout the fans. Have you seen what ticket prices in Boston are?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:49 PM)

LOL, true

Chris Burnett (Victoria B.C.)

Love your optimism Pierre! It's been keeping me sane throughout these shennigans! Who would meet on Tuesday? Is Bettman and D Fehr going to meet with the Number two's? Which side do you think has more pressure to get a deal done?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:50 PM)

yes I expect D Fehr and G Bettman to be back in the room along with players, owners, etc.. larger groupBut that's still yet to be finalized officially at this hour

Greg S (Albany, NY)

As bad as this lockout is for most fans, those of us in AHL cities are reaping the benefits of FINALLY having some top young talent in the league. However, in frequenting games, many of the top names have been less than fan friendly. If giving back to the fans isn't going to be part of the mending process, what do you see the league and the players doing to mend the NHL/Fan relationship thats been so damaged???

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:51 PM)

I don't know but they better do a lot of kissing up back to fans. Big-time damage

Jack (New York)

You said earlier that Detroit and Toronto need to make moves. How about a Bernie Federko for Darryl Sittler trade? Make sense?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:52 PM)

Or Salming to Detroit ? :)

Rob (BC)

I have $1000.00 riding that the season will be cancelled. Hoping for the cancelation. How close are we to the cancelation of the season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:52 PM)

wow, negative betting ! Not close at this point

nathan (minnesota)

Hi Pierre, Just a quick question how does this lockout affect the wild? Do you see them in top 8 this year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:53 PM)

I picked them to be 5th in Western Conference I think ... can't remember now, LOLMy concern with Wild is that will all new faces, time to gel is key. Short camp, shortened season, less time to gel... but I still like that team a lot

Matt (Orlando, FL)

I asked this question to Craig last week and he wasnt sure. If they settle and puck drop is in December, how will they re-work the schedule? Will it be all in conference games to make it balanced? Will they cut the number of in division games to say 4?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:53 PM)

Still to be determined

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)

Pierre, do you think I should move to Europe and play or shoud I wait this out? After the NHL tossed our proposals into the garbage, I wanted to leave ASAP. But, I still have a feeling there might be an end soon. What do you think I should do?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:54 PM)

Wait it out

Rober (LA)

Wouldn't it work to have the owners pay from their share to guarantee existing contracts. paying defered salaries (12%) through the life of the next CBA. This gets us to 50/50 immediately but does not take away money on contracts to players and reduces the burden on the owners by having the payments be deferred over the life of the new CBA?

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:54 PM)

That's essentially, or at least generally, what league has already told the NHLPA...

Bill (Vegas)

Do you think the NHL will try to eliminate fighting to target more mainstream fans since they have managed to tick off the traditional fans and they assume we are coming back no matter what anyway? Maybe adopt a rule similar to the OHL.

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:55 PM)

I don't think so.. I think the fact fighting keeps going down every year... game is faster than ever so your typical goon who can't skate is being weeded out...

Glen Sather (MSG)

Pierre,Good talking to you again. I finally convinced Columbus to give away Rick Nash, and now I can't seem him play except overseas. When we get back to action, which Jim Dolan has promised to me, how do you see my boys doing this year? Hank is the reigning Vezina winner, Gaborik will be healthy again, and we finally made a dent in last year's playoffs. I'll send a few cubans your way once I hear back from you.-Slats

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:55 PM)

Well, my prediction is for a Rangers-Blues Stanley Cup final so....

martin (quebec)

Merci Pierre de considerer le fait francais! Desole pour mon message precedent.Martin

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:56 PM)

Pas de problemes. Il y a beaucoup de questions de plusieurs personnes

Pierre LeBrun
  (1:57 PM)

OK everyone, gotta run. Thanks again for everyone stopping by.I fly to NYC tomorrow morning for the talks. Let's hope there's progress !