Gary Bettman fields questions from today's presser. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Highlights From Today's Press Conference With Gary Bettman

You’re not going to believe this, but it’s more of what you expected to hear.

Things don’t look good, and unless you’ve got some eleventh hour hi-jinks up your sleeve, the league will lockout the players on Saturday Night at 11:59PM.

Here are some choice quotes from Commissioner Gary Bettman from his press conference this afternoon.

  • “There really is no news to report”

Okay, now get to the bad part.

  • “We need a new collective bargaining agreement to move forward with the season”

Is this the bad part?

  • “The fact of the matter is, we have been clear that the CBA upon its expiration needs to have a successor agreement for us to move forward”

I get it.  We need a new CBA in order for hockey to get played.

  • “Fact is, we believe 57% of HRR is too much, and there’s lots of reasons for that …the NBA, the NFL have recognized…a need to retrench”

Got it.  We need to retrench.  Let’s get to retrenching! Hey guys, how do we retrench?

  • “We made the last offer…whatever you’re reading in the blogosphere or twittersphere…”

Hey, my parents are supportive of this gig.  And we’ve got a shuffleboard table in this basement.  We can drink beer once the ‘rents go to bed, and we can play these cool Motley Crue tapes.  What have you got going for you?

  • “Looking back in hindsight, it looks..no urgency from the PA to engage…and what’s happened over the summer seems to be reinforcing that”

If the league was willing to sit down a year ago, then props to them.  Negotiating didn’t get hot and heavy until late in the game.

  • “Listen, nobody wants to make a deal and play hockey more than I do. This is what I do, this is what my life is about.  This is really hard. You only get involved in this situation when you understand what these issues are, and you do the right thing.  I feel terrible about it”

As much as you may think so, we’re really not jacked up about the whole premise of losing another season to a lockout, sir.  The apology is nice, but at the end, it doesn’t move a crumb.

  • “I asked for a show of hands as to whether or not the room was supportive…a vote was taken, and it was unanimous”

That’s 30 votes to lockout, 0 votes against.

There’s no turning back now, you buttered beauties.

  • “We..I’m not going to get into a public economic debate, that will cause all of us to get a headache”

You’re going to get a headache?

  • “Jet fuel has increased 175% for the charter jets we use”

Gas is expensive.  Maybe switch to something a little less sporty and a bit more economical?

Finally, this.

  • “There seems to be this notion because we urged to 54 escalating to 57 7 years ago that that’s a perpetual entitlement” (sic)

Here’s where I have an issue.  I understand that you feel like you’re doling out these massive numbers, and that’s because the league…well, is doling out these massive numbers.  In 2004-05, we lost an entire season, and a deal finally got struck in 2005.  The league got their salary cap, and everybody seemed pretty happy for the time being.

Today we find ourselves in 2012, and you’re complaining that you’re paying the players too much.  Weeks ago, one of your owners is handing out nearly 200M to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.  Ilya Kovalchuk can wipe his back end with hundred dollar bills.  Both the owners and players are playing within the parameters of the league, and now you’re bitching about paying the players too much.

Now you want to tighten the rope.

At the end of this mess (whenever it is), both sides are going to have to concede in order to play.  And if what Bettman says about the PA not wanting to negotiate sooner, then that’s bad business from the PA’s end of things.  I appreciate Bettman’s honesty in his answers, it’s not like he tried to duck any questions.

We’ve got just over 48 hours to go…

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