NHL: The NHL and the Looming Lockout

The NHL’s Worst Fears Have Been Confirmed

I waited quite some time to write this article in hopes I would never have to do it. But it seems the likely hood of watching a full 82-game NHL season has come and gone. The NHLPA and owners can not seem to get on the same page, and as I write this article all games up to November first have been cancelled.

It was only last week that the NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr saw a 50-50 revenue split come and go. It was after that news broke, I said this season may never be played. I held out hope for a majority of the season to be played, but with an even revenue split so quickly dismissed it doesn’t look good.

I understand there was some language in the 50-50 agreement that was very damaging for the players. That language led to the quick, resounding response of no. However, to see no future talks being put in place, or even using the old deal as a building block for the new is very disheartening.

As of October 22, 2012 there are no plans for Fehr or NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly to continue talks. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he has held out hope of playing a full season if an agreement can be reached by October 25th. Unfortunately, the possibility of this is very small.

I have been critical of Bettman during this entire process, and while I don’t always agree with the way he runs the league we have to remember who he works for. The owners. So while we all sit and watch our favorite stars walk and find news jobs overseas remember it was the owners that drove them away. We can not pin it all on Bettman.

The lack of seriousness that each side has taken concerns me. Neither side seems to want to put their nose to the grindstone and make this deal happen. Less than seven years removed from  a lockout that wiped a whole season from the record books and you would think the league wouldn’t want another black eye, one they can not afford.

The lockout is six weeks young and may continue to grow. The NHL needs to make a deal and save as much of the season as possible, preferably the entire season. Without a deal in place and more games to be cancelled they will continue to be looked upon as an immature sport that can not get their business straight.

So here’s to hoping the NHL and the NHLPA can make something happen, and this will all be forgotten. I’d hate to see the headlines if they can’t. It won’t  be pretty.