Sidney Crosby appeared before the media after another unsuccessful bargaining session to express his disappointment and his more probable future.
The Pittsburgh Penguins captain was evidently shocked at the league`s quick dismissal of the Thursday labour talks which saw the NHLPA present three proposals. All three were shut down within minutes by the league. Crosby then took his disappointment to the press.
“I think that’s something that everyone’s got to figure out. You try to figure out where things stand and I don’t think they’re in a great spot right now,” said Crosby. “Today wasn’t really a step in the right direction if that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The young ambassador expressed last week that he was confident a deal would get done by now. The abrupt shutdown of all three proposals all but dashed every hope at saving the 82-game season. Both sides, though, still intend to get a deal done by Thursday deadline in order to preserve the full schedule.
Crosby`s agent Pat Brisson, who represents 62 NHL players, said he is open to revisiting the idea of having another world tour for players. “We did it last time,” he said.
During the last lockout, Brisson was the lead organizer for the IMG World Stars Tour. This tour had about 30 players play 10 games in various European cities over a two week period in December of 2004.
Brisson has already termed 15 of his clients oversees and he says a lot more will follow if a deal is not reached next week.
“I would say, in the next month or two, we will have another 20,” he said.
I know, you`re probably cringing at the thought of such measures. The bottom line is, a deal has to be reached by Thursday in order to save the full season. After November 2, the reality of saving the season at all begins to decline rapidly.
The fact that Crosby doesn’t sound too optimistic at this point, is not a good sign. The repercussions of Crosby leaving could be great. He’s been the face of the league since he burst onto the scene following the last lockout.
The league made a bold statement by shutting down the three proposals as quickly they did. They’ve shown a stern demeanor and without flexibility in each of their proposals and refusals.
We will find out in days, but if I was a betting man I would say there is a good chance this is a bluff in order to meet ideal demands next week. Like Crosby said, it could have been the plan all along. Perhaps the league would have refused any proposal given Thursday in hopes to get a more league-suited deal done next week.
Perhaps it is what it is and we`re inevitably heading for a third straight season lockout.
The clock is ticking as hockey fans grow impatient. The numbers suggest the two sides are not as far apart as they`ve said they are. With both sides posturing, one side will have to submit and eventually sign the other`s offer.