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Report: Gary Bettman tells players GMs want to dismantle teams

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

NHLLockoutAt this point, the NHL lockout seems to have as much drama and hurt feelings as a lunch table full of junior high boys and girls, and even less maturity.

And there seems to be even more he-said, she-said going on.

The latest round comes from Larry Brooks of the New York Post as he passes along word that commissioner Gary Bettman told players on Thursday that several general managers around the league have some regrets on player contracts and would love the opportunity to "dismantle" their teams.

This apparently did not sit well with the players, who reportedly asked for the names of the general managers who made such a suggestion, and helped lead to what was essentially a wasted day of negotiations.

(This is nothing more than a random guess. But when it comes to which general managers would like to hit the reset button, we would start by looking at the general manager of the team that has two years and more than $14 million for Scott Gomez remaining on his payroll. Again, just a guess.)

More from Brooks:

The incident, which the PA interpreted as an indication of the Canceler-in-Chief's lack of respect for the athletes, serves as an example of why negotiations between the NHL and union broke down on Thursday after having taken previous baby-steps toward resolving Owners' Lockout III.

The union believes the league's stance changed after PA executive director Don Fehr decided against filing a disclaimer of interest at Wednesday's midnight deadline that would have sent the dispute into court. The PA believes the NHL pulled a bait and switch in the immediate aftermath of Fehr's continued commitment to the collective bargaining process.

The NHL, we're told, attempted a late change in the language regarding penalties for clubs caught hiding Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) through audits by the NHLPA.

Back for a second to the players' anger over the general managers looking to dismantle their teams: What did the players think the general managers were going to do with those two potential compliance buyouts per team that were apparently agreed to? Just sit on them and not take advantage of the opportunity to dump an investment that didn't work out as planned?

Of course, they were going to be used to dismantle some teams and undo some mistakes. (As we all know, NHL general managers have made quite a few contractual mistakes in recent years. And, yes, I'm sure there are some who would love the opportunity to get a mulligan on them.)

As it stands, the two sides had their expected blowup on Thursday, which was followed by separate meetings with mediators on Friday morning. No official bargaining sessions have been scheduled at this point, and there might not be any until the NHLPA finishes its vote on whether it will once again give union leader Donald Fehr the power to file a disclaimer of interest.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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