Bettman talks state of CBA in annual address

Gary Bettman had sounded optimistic about avoiding a lockout when speaking before the Stanley Cup final.

The NHL and the NHLPA will begin collective bargaining negotiations in the very near future in an economic climate vastly superior to those in 2004, according to NHL?Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bettman delivered his annual State of the League address last night prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.

“We look forward to finally beginning meetings with the players’ association,” Bettman said. “The goal is obviously is to reach a collective bargaining agreement that can take the game and the business to even higher levels.” 

He said that the league generated $3.3 billion in revenue and reported that the league’s 30 arenas were filled to 96 percent capacity in the regular season and 102 percent capacity in the playoffs.

While Bettman said that “formal negotiations” have not begun, National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director Donald Fehr told reporters that they had “on-going conversations with the league office for weeks and weeks, exchanging a bunch of information and analyzing a bunch of information — all of which is a necessary pre-requisite.”

The league provided written notice to the NHLPA two weeks ago that it was exercising its option to opt out of the CBA. Fehr declined to answer multiple questions regarding whether the NHLPA would have opted out of the CBA.

Bettman stated that the CBA was only supposed to last for seven years before expressing frustration at the negative supposition regarding a potential work stoppage. 

“I don’t understand all the speculation and the degree of negativity that it connotes,” Bettman said. “We, meaning we and the players’ association, have yet to have a substantive discussion on what each may be looking for in collective bargaining.”

Fehr believes that the relationship between the players and owners is vastly different than what it was in 2004, when both sides took stances that led to the lost year. The current agreement formally expires on Sept. 15, but Fehr did point out that the players “recognize that they made enormous concessions in the last round of bargaining.”
The commissioner did not have an update on the Islanders’ situation, other than to say, “they need a new building. That hasn’t changed. [Owner] Charles Wang continues, despite the tremendous frustration, to look at the options which would keep the club in the New York metropolitan area.”  
Bettman did say that Devils owner “Jeff Vanderbeek is working on refinancing the debt on the club and equity raise. [Vanderbeek] appears confident that he can pull this off in the next few weeks.”

Bettman took umbrage with a New York Post report Wednesday morning that suggested both the Kings and Devils were for sale.
“It never ceases to amaze me when a newspaper writes a story and the principles involved absolutely deny it, and they can be the only source,” Bettman said. “The Post was told both by Tim Leiweke and by [the league] that the story was categorically untrue; the Kings are not for sale. But they said they had their own sources so they decided to go ahead with the story.
“The story is not true.”

Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman throughout the Stanley Cup final.


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.