PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Sidney Crosby says it takes two to tango.
The Pittsburgh Penguins captain stood by his comments voicing frustration Tuesday at the lack of movement in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association.
And Crosby pointed the finger squarely at the owners.
“I don’t think there’s much negotiating going on. I think as far as the proposals are concerned it’s just kind of at a standstill right now,” Crosby told reporters after skating in Pittsburgh. “Nobody’s moving a whole lot on their side and I think that we’ve made steps to show that we’re willing to negotiate.
“I don’t think that’s really happening on the other side.”
Talks between the NHL and the NHLPA to end the lockout picked up last week before stalling over the weekend. No new bargaining sessions are planned and Crosby says the players feel like they’re negotiating with an unwilling partner.
“The desperation to play doesn’t really seem like it’s on their side. I think there’s a deal to be made (but) I think negotiations have to be made if there’s going to be a deal,” he said. “If it keeps going like this everybody’s going to lose, there’s no way around it.
“Everybody’s going to lose.”
NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr told a panel in Toronto on Monday that three issues remain to be solved between the owners and players: the split of money, player contract rights and who pays for the damage caused by the lockout.
The NHL has proposed changes to entry-level deals, arbitration, free agency and contract limits.
Those are issues that particularly irked Crosby and he reiterated those feelings Tuesday.
“Guys aren’t going to give in when it comes to contract stuff. It’s not going to happen,” Crosby said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with (money), it’s the rights of players within your profession so that’s what I think guys are definitely going to stand strong on. It’s ridiculous to try change that after the success the league and everybody’s had here the last seven or eight years.”
The owners locked out the players in mid-September and all games up to Nov. 30 have been cancelled. The Winter Classic outdoor game that was scheduled for Jan. 1 has also been axed due to the work stoppage.
It is believed a deal would need to be struck early next week for a shortened season to begin on Dec. 1.
“It’s tough when you want to play hockey and I don’t think the other side really takes that serious. They’re able to do that, that’s not their livelihood,” Crosby said. “There’s other businesses, there’s other things going on so maybe that’s why (the owners are) not as hungry to make a deal as (the players) are who want to play and care about making things work and negotiating.”
Despite his frustration, Crosby is reserving judgement on whether there will be a 2012-13 NHL season.
“I’d like to think that everyone will find a way to make it work. That’s really what it boils down to, everyone finding a way to make it work,” he said. “It’s not going to work if they keep drawing a line in the sand and not negotiating and keep asking for things.
“That’s not going to work that way. It’s a bit of give and take and that hasn’t really happened yet.”