Marathon Meetings Yield Some Progress

National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association representatives met for fourteen hours on Thursday and another eight hours on Friday, coming away from the meetings cautiously optimistic about the chances of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

“We had two long days of meetings in which the parties discussed and made progress on some of the key issues pertaining to a new economic system,” said NHL executive vice president Bill Daly in a release. “While we have not yet been able to reach agreement on those issues, we remain committed to continuing the process in earnest until a new collective bargaining agreement can be achieved.”

While both sides acknowledged the progress, NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin confirmed that there are many issues left to resolve.

“While we made progress in some areas there remain many issues to be addressed. Since so many of the systemic and economic issues are interrelated, it is clear that much work remains to be done.”

The two sides spent Thursday and Friday attempting to determine what constitutes a team’s revenue. The Players’ Association has long argued that it does not believe the league’s numbers in relation to team-by-team income and expenditures.

The league was represented by commissioner Gary Bettman, Daly, director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, NHL general counsel David Zimmerman, board of governors chairman Harley Hotchkiss of the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils CEO and GM Lou Lamoriello, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold, outside counsel Bob Batterman and lawyer Shep Goldfein.

Representing the NHLPA were executive director Bob Goodenow, Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver, director of business relations Mike Gartner, outside counsel McCambridge, Detroit Red Wings veteran Brendan Shanahan, and the executive committee, consisting of president Trevor Linden and vice-presidents Vincent Damphousse, Bill Guerin, Daniel Alfredsson, Arturs Irbe, Trent Klatt and Bob Boughner.

The sides hope to meet every week until a new CBA is negotiated.

Bertuzzi Out For Season

NHL vice president Colin Campbell announced this morning that Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi will be suspended for the rest of this season and the playoffs for his brutal hit Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche’s Steve Moore.

Bertuzzi’s eligibility to play next season will be determined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before the start of training camp. Bettman will take Moore’s health and recovery into account when making the eligibility determination, according to Campbell.

The Canucks’ organization was also fined $250,000. “We believe the Vancouver organization ultimately bears some responsibility … to moderate the focus of its team. We believe that more could have, and should have, been done,” Campbell said in a statement.

Bertuzzi came up against Moore from behind, sucker-punched him in the back of the head, and drove his head down onto the ice. Moore landed face-first with the 245-pound Bertuzzi on top of him. Bertuzzi was drawing his arm back for another hit when one of Moore’s teammates stopped him.

“We felt Todd Bertuzzi had given up his right to play the rest of the season,” Campbell said Thursday. “It was wrong. It wasn’t anything else but wrong.”

Bertuzzi, the Canucks’ leading scorer, expressed remorse in a statement read Wednesday night before Vancouver’s game against the Minnesota Wild. “These comments are for Steve. I had no intention of hurting you. I feel awful for what transpired,” he said. “To the game of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, for the kids that watch this game, I am truly sorry. I don’t play the game that way. I’m not a mean-spirited person and I’m sorry for what happened.”

The British Columbia Solicitor General and Vancouver police are also investigating the incident, and criminal charges could be filed.