NEW YORK – The NHL and the players’ association stuck to their word and made quick plans to get back to the bargaining table.
After all-day negotiations Saturday, the sides agreed Monday to resume talks today in New York. Both sides said the discussions over the weekend were good, creating some optimism that perhaps a deal could soon be reached to save the already truncated hockey season.
The NHL and union hadn’t met since Oct. 18 when each side turned down offers. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr got together by themselves Saturday in an undisclosed location and held productive talks.
“We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us,” Daly said Sunday.
He and Fehr talked on the phone several times during the week and reached enough common ground to make face-to-face meetings possible.
Fehr echoed Daly’s encouraging remarks after Saturday’s get-together that lasted well into the night.
“Hopefully we can continue the dialogue, expand the group, and make steady progress,” Fehr said.
It wasn’t immediately determined Monday whether today’s bargaining session would be conducted by just Daly and Fehr or if a larger group – perhaps including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr – would also take part.
The lockout entered its 51st day Monday. So far, 327 games – including the outdoor Winter Classic – have been called off, and the NHL says a full season won’t be played.
No new formal proposals were made Saturday, but it is believed the issue of payments of existing player contracts was a big part of the discussions.
“I’m not in a position to talk substance about agenda or expectations,” Daly wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
A major point of contention between the NHL and the players’ association has been the “make whole” provision, which will ensure that all current player contracts will be paid out regardless of any changes made to the split of hockey-related revenues or contract language.
The NHL appears ready to cover more of the costs of those deals as opposed to making them part of the players’ share of revenue in future years. In its most recent offer last month, the NHL said it would honor the current contracts in deferred payments, but those would be included in the players’ share of revenues.
The union balked at that offer.
Sanderson tells all in book: At Toronto, Derek Sanderson recalls mixing cocktails in a salad spinner and consuming four bottles of Soave Bolla wine before noon “just to get square.”
Then there were the pills and drugs and the women the former Boston Bruins star partied with.
Sanderson tells it all in a new book, “Crossing the Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original.”
“I’m different,” Sanderson said. “I have found that I really am different. There’s nobody like me. And not that it’s good or bad.”
Written with Kevin Shea, the book goes from a spur-of-the-moment cash purchase of a Rolls-Royce to sleeping under a bridge and stealing bottles of booze.
Known as the Turk, Sanderson won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 1967-68. He played for the Bruins, Philadelphia Blazers (WHA), New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks before ending his NHL career with a brief stop in Pittsburgh in 1977-78.
He had 202 goals, 250 assists and 911 penalty minutes in 598 NHL games.
In his heyday, he could score, kill penalties and fight.
Away from the ice, the flamboyant Sanderson partnered with Joe Namath in a bar before starting his own string of restaurants. He would not bat an eye at gathering a group of friends — including three actresses and two Playboy Bunnies — and flying them to Hawaii on the spot.
The conditions were they had to leave with nothing more than the clothes on their back and they couldn’t phone anybody.