Chimera questions NHL owners' motives

Chimera questions NHL owners' motives
October 24, 2012, 12:30 pm
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(Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

If Jason Chimera had any hair, he’d probably be pulling it out right about now.

With the NHL lockout now at Day 39, the Capitals’ 33-year-old forward is beginning to wonder if the league’s owners really want to make a deal with the players.

“Maybe they’re looking at the season like an advent calendar – like Christmas is coming and they’re taking their chocolates out one day at a time,” Chimera told “And when the big chocolate comes they make a proposal.”

So what might be that big chocolate? The Winter Classic, maybe?

“I don’t know,” Chimera said. “I hope the big chocolate is an 82-game season. We all want to play an 82-game season. I don’t know if they seriously want that as a group. I hope they want a season because I know [players] are itching to get negotiating and they’re not willing to do anything.”

The source of Chimera’s frustration came Tuesday night when he particpated in a conference call with other NHLPA members. In that teleconference, players were told that the union's efforts to negotiate with the NHL on the “make whole” provision of the NHL’s most recent offer was rejected.

“We’re not willing to accept everything else on their proposal except for that, but we want to discuss other things on their proposal and they said, ‘No way,’” Chimera said.  “They said, ‘Unless you’re willing to accept everything except the make whole….’ That’s not negotiating. You’ve got to give and take. Everything they have on their table are things they’ve taken from us.”

For the record, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has stated that unless the players are willing to come up with a new proposal there’s no sense getting together.
“They said they were willing to meet,” Daly told in an email. “But given their position on our proposal and their unwillingness to offer a new one, I’m not sure what we would be meeting about. Back to the drawing board.”
In his proposal to save a full 82-game season last week, Bettman set a deadline of Oct. 25 to reach an agreement. That deadline is about to pass without as much as a meeting scheduled. But Chimera is not ruling it out.

“You never know,” he said. “There might be something 11th hour. We want to meet and they don’t want to meet. What can you do? It’s pretty frustrating. As much as they say they want to negotiate they’re on a timeline. It’s just so stupid.

“The best thing that could happen for both parties is for Gary to come to a meeting and say, ‘OK, we’re playing tomorrow, get everyone back. We’re going to hammer this out during the season.’ It’s getting ridiculous.”