NHL: The NHL Lockout Woes Continue

The NHL lockout entered it’s 53rd day today with little progress. Officials met today at an undisclosed location to further discuss the issues facing the league and it’s players. This is the first time since October 18th, that significant time has been spent deliberating.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and union special counsel Steve Fehr joined 13 other NHL players for extended talks Wednesday. The location and matters discussed were kept secret as per a previous agreement made between sides. “The league will not characterize the substance or detail of the discussions until their conclusion,” Daly said in a statement Tuesday night.

The lockout, that went into effect September 16th, 2012, when the previous labor agreement expired has caused the cancellation of  327 regular-season games. The most recent victim of the cancellations was the mega popular winter classic.

One major sticking point for players through discussions has been the “make whole” provision. This provision will honor the payment for players contracts already in effect. In other words, the contracts already signed by players that are in effect for the 2012-2013 season must be honored as such as they stand.

Players and owners have made proposals that include a 50-50 split of revenue, but neither side has been able to reach a full agreement. Issues include the split of hockey related revenue, contract lengths, arbitration, and free agency.

The NHL exceeded $3 billion in revenue last season. Unfortunately, the powers that be can’t seem to find a way to split that up evenly. With the least popular of the four major sports, time is not on their side. Everyday the lockout tightens; the more fans walk away from the game.

A message from a lifelong fan is simple. Get a deal done. The chances of playing a full 82 game season are gone. I’ve accepted that, and you should too. However, we can still scrape together some respect and pick up a shred of professionalism and pride and put this thing back together.