Daly frustrated by lack of progress in NHL labour talks Staff

9/17/2012 9:51:33 PM

With the National Hockey League's lockout now two days old, deputy commissioner Bill Daly is less concerned with how negotiations got to this point and more worried about where they will go from here.

"I'm more frustrated by the lack of progress," Daly told TSN on Monday. "It's a challenge in terms of finding how to move the process along and the bottom line is the process hasn't moved very quickly over the course of the summer."

With on-ice activity halted as the NHL and NHL Players' Association still negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, the two sides inch closer to regular season games being cancelled, with the season scheduled to start on Oct. 11.

However, as much as the league and the players are treading familiar waters in the midst of a second work stoppage in the past decade, Daly stressed that negotiations have a different tenor this time around.

"It's been a totally different negotiation than it was in 2004-05," he said. "I think it's safe to say that occasionally we got together during the summer of 2004, (but) there wasn't much bargaining or exploring issues."

"I think we've ploughed a lot of ground this summer. As I said, we haven't made much progress on the critical issues, but certainly we have a better framework to move forward if we can ever start making progress."

CBA negotiations began on June 29 with the two sides discussing potential issues to be addressed. The NHL made its first proposal to the NHLPA on July 13 with a counter-offer coming almost a month later.

But Daly doesn't believe much has changed from the players' initial offer.

"There's a common understanding across the table as to the numbers we're talking about. There's not a disagreement on that," Daly said. "That's really not the issue at this point in time. The fact of the matter is that the players made their initial proposal on Aug. 14 and they really haven't moved off that initial proposal."

Much of the discussions have revolved around a redistribution of hockey-related revenues, but Daly claimed there's more to the impasse than just one issue.

"It's not just the share of revenues - that's the most important issue we have to talk about - but there are a host of other issues that have to be resolved to get this done," he admitted. "Finding a mechanism to start making progress as opposed to stalling is our current challenge."

"We're trying to be somewhat responsive to what we hear on the other side of the table, so when they don't want to change HRR definitions because everyone is used to them and accustomed to them and understands them, again [we] go back to a share of the gross and (make) no changes to HRR and so we'll see if that has traction. So far it hasn't."

However - much like the comments coming from the NHLPA - Daly stressed that the league wants a deal sooner rather than later.

"We're focused on not missing any time and if we miss any time, minimizing that amount of time," he said. "We don't have a target date. Our target date is as soon as we can get this done, so we're going to wait as long as possible before making any cancellations."

Daly also dismissed any negative perception around the fact that the league is looking for another salary rollback from the players - seven years after they accepted a 24 per cent rollback in the last CBA and despite record league revenues.

"The game needs to be healthier and people need incentives to invest in the game to continue to grow those revenues," Daly told TSN Radio 1050's Cybulski & Company.