Recap: Gary Bettman and Bill Daly Speak

On TSN Darren Dreger says that the NHL tried to buy some trust back with their $300 million make whole offer. The players returned and said that it was a “step in the right direction” but that the players asked for more.

Ron Burkle became very upset and Larry Tanenbaum reportedly almost turned purple.


Below is what Gary Bettman and Bill Daly said at their press conference.


Gary Bettman: “I think like all of you and our fans this week has been an emotional roller coaster. We had put in place a process that we hoped would move things along since nothing else worked. The sense that was reported on Tuesday was a great deal of optimism, good communication and hope. We reported that to the BOG on Wed and that sense of optimism almost inexplicably disappeared Wednesday afternoon. Things were not in the same tone as they were on Tuesday.”

“The key for all of us was to have a long-term agreement, that is what the fans, players and game deserve. The four new owners wanted to push ahead and do something bold. What they did was put a new $100 million on the table in the hopes that it would show we wanted to get back an play. The Union response was shockingly silent and there was no reaction. The owners were besides themselves, some of them I had never seen that emotional. They said ‘we don’t know what happened but this process is over. It’s clear that the union doesn’t want to make a deal. The player reaction was to try and get back on track and it was in that context the owners decided to make another bold move and give up some of the things that are important to us, but tell you the things that we need to have. That was in response to union telling us that the pension plan was now the key element. Earlier we were told that the make whole was the key element. Then it was player contracts and now it was the pension. We need the three things the way we asked for them and if you do we will give you the pension. Last night and today it was reiterated that we don’t need movement on our key elements, we need our key elements. Today we were expecting an answer, a YES or a NO, and our instructions were if it was a YES then we could move on and if it was a NO then it would be over. The answer wasn’t YES and the take and give or bottom line is that the union is suggesting that since they made moves we are close to a deal.”

“I am not sure that spinning ourselves into an emotional frenzy is fair to our fans. We have moved dramatically and have proposed a long-term system that would pay the players billions and billions over it’s term but we need a system that works. I am disappointed beyond belief that we are where we are tonight.

The things we put on the table this week are now off the table. We so much wanted to play that we went further than we should have. I started to hear from the clubs ‘why is the make whole’ still on the table.

Bill Daly: “This whole week has been about a package deal, a package process. Tuesday was a great day, a great energy in the room. We heard what was important to the players.”

“Term of the CBA and term of contracts are extremely important and as part of a package deal we suggested a 10 year deal with an 8 year opener. For the first time compliance buyouts were brought up and for the first time escrow limits were brought up. We are not going to have escrow limits and compliance buyouts. Our owners, to jump start the process, added more money to the make whole and we got a response that was insulting to our owners. They wanted to leave but the players asked them to stay.”

The most important things are: Term of CBA, term of contracts (“the hill we will die on) and the compliance issues.


Bettman says that Fehr keeps saying that the two sides are close when they aren’t. I find it almost incomprehensible that he would do that.

Daly says “We made clear the parameters that would get a deal.”

The concept of the make whole is OFF the table.

Bettman says that he has no magic date for the season to start and that they will get to a point where they will have to make a decision about whether they can have a “season with integrity.”

Bettman, “I reject the notion that there is distrust. We kept negotiating against ourselves. The union kept making the same proposal over and over again and it was the same thing repackaged.”

“We thought we were on to something good and the six owners in the room all gave an optimistic report and thought that for the first time it seemed like they were getting traction.”

“I find it inconceivable that the 82 game save the season proposal wasn’t accepted.”

“we are focused on making the game healthy for our players and our fans and our owners.”

“The systemic change that the union resisted grew our game. The players have been very well treated by the previous CBA.”

“I can’t imagine wanting to play fewer than 48 games.”