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Dowbiggin: New agreement will get done in spite of Bettman, Fehr

Bruce Dowbiggin posts his perspective on the world of sports each morning

The NHL and NHLPA are friending again today in New York City. Okay, friending might be a strong word. There's good and bad in their finally coming together after a two-week snit. The weekend meeting of NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA executive Steve Fehr has clearly created some traction. That's good.

The bad is that Gary Bettman and Don Fehr are at the table, too. Clear-eyed observers believe that this CBA will be done in spite of them, not because of them. Hockey's all about those Ws and Ls in the standings. So are Bettman and Fehr when it comes to their resumes. They're both obsessed by the Big W at the end of the process that says they broke the other guy.

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But those people out there still paying attention (you know who you are) don't give a cuss whose proposal the solution is based upon. They just want it over. Thankfully, the constituents of Bettman and Fehr have told them that another lost year is unacceptable. They've been commanded to get a deal that starts hockey by next month if they want a full season.

If they fail to do so, their resumes won't read Win or Lose but U for unemployed.

DEFICIT SPENDING

One of the lesser-known changes in the potential NHL CBA being negotiated is a panel to review just how revenue sharing is spent. Almost all the large markets are in favour of helping out their less fortunate partners with some sort of transfers. What they're not crazy about is those partners spending the money on budget-busting contracts to players like Shea Weber of Jeff Skinner. In effect, paying for a Nashville or Carolina to sign players at levels they can't afford.

This was an issue as Philadelphia owner Ed Snider noted he was paying the lucrative salary of restricted free agent  Shea Weber, who he'd signed to an offer sheet, whether he played in Philly or Nashville. Under the panel, teams will be urged to use revenue sharing for infrastructure items such as new time clocks or improved parking lots or for in-game presentations or broadcast infrastructure.

Sounds reasonable. The question is what happens in two years on this panel when they find that this CBA hasn't changed a thing when it comes to perennial losers in the NHL business plan. Are we back where we started Part 4 or will the league finally clear up its unworkable plan?

DOWN THE STRETCH

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It's election night in the U.S. Tuesday, and that means news types trying to read results under pressure and generally making a hash out of it. We've never understood why the big networks, with their herds of sportscasters, don't employ them to deliver the fast-breaking electoral-college scores or results from Cuyahoga County.

Instead we'll see quavering reporters melting in the spotlight like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. C'mon NBC free up your Bob Costas. CBS liberate the Jim Nantz. ABC get Chris "Boomer" Berman to say the President's numbers are going "Back, back back back..." . Get the winners and losers right in real time. America will thank you.

TWEET NOTHINGS

"dowbboy Hockey world crushed to learn Daly and S Fehr just playing an epic game of Risk. Daly took Kamchatka. Fehr controls Australia."

@dowbboy People have their preferences but honestly you goin' to watch ALA/ LSU slugfest over USC/ USC?"

MARBLE MOUTH

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Our old pal Terry Bradshaw is in trouble again. FOX's marble-mouthed good ol' boy is being labelled a racist for describing Miami's Reggie Bush (who is  black) "chasing a bucket of chicken" as the Dolphin running back scored a touchdown. The inner workings of Bradshaw's mind are a mystery (we think he was just fixating on the postgame buffet) and Lord knows, Bradshaw's your cartoon cutout of a southern man in his '50s.

Still. We would only offer anyone else to try doing live TV for a year and not malaprop a few times. And suggest maybe that FOX needs to lessen Bradshaw's work load, highlights-wise. It'll work out better that way.

dowbboy@shaw.ca/ twitter: @dowbboy

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