BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey, the team’s player representative to the National Hockey League Players Association, today declared the collective bargaining agreement season open between the NHL and the PA.
Hainsey was asked this morning if Friday’s scuttled realignment of the league’s divisions was related to upcoming negotiations for a new labour deal.
"I think the two are unrelated, but now they will be related from how I understood the wording of everything last night," Hainsey said after the Jets morning skate today. "It looks like it willl be one big issue now."
Hainsey said the players have taken issue with the fairness of qualifying for the playoffs and travel issues of the propsoal which was approved by the NHL’s board of governors in December.
He said travel for western teams and Winnpeg could be potentially be worse with the new plan. While that’s possible for Winnipeg, it seems highly unlikely unless the league went out of its way to make it worse.
Hainsey was asked if the players still want to talk about fixing the problem for next season so the Jets don’t have to play another season as a member of the Southeast Division.
"It was told that we were more than willing to sit down," he said. "We were given two deadlines this week. The plug was pulled on it last night when we sent essentially the same concerns we had on Tuesday. We continued to request to meet and last night they decided to go on the offensive with their press release, claiming the players were being unreasonable and that they were going to shut the idea of it down.
"Now it’s a judgment of what’s reasonable and unreasonable and you guys can have fun writing about that for the next couple months."