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Players' association has to make the next step in NHL CBA talks

As Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have said during the lockout, there are ebbs and flows during negotiations.

The water is on the players' shore now. It's up to them to sink or swim.

The NHL asked the players' association for a complete CBA proposal Monday night during the latest gathering between the sides. Fehr, the NHLPA's executive director, said he will take the request to the players and get back to the league, today more likely than not.

When he places the return call, he'd better have a full proposal or this will be another week wasted.

Hopefully by now the NHLPA has realized the league doesn't bluff. Fehr has repeatedly chided the NHL about its use of "artificial deadlines" during talks, but they are not artificial to NHL reps. If the CBA is set to expire Sept. 15, it's going to expire Sept. 15 and won't be extended during negotiations. If the league says it needs a deal in place by Oct. 25 to save a full season and avoid further cancellations, a deal needs to be in place Oct. 25 or November's games will go by the wayside, which is exactly what happened.

In this instance, if the league says it wants a full proposal from the union in order to move forward, it wants a full proposal. The NHLPA can't just string together bits and pieces and hope the NHL bites.

The players' union requested this round of meetings in New York. It's assumed it has something to say. A full proposal will make the NHL listen. Considering the NHLPA has had more than two months to come up with a comprehensive CBA plan, it had better make one or it will inch closer to having a whole canceled season to think about it.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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