The end to NHL Lockout 2012 rests in the hands of the players association, and the only way for them to end the standoff that has the world ripped into two when it comes to the hockey world, is for the leaders in the union to whisper Operation Valkyrie into the ears of the constituents.
The Wolf’s Lair turns out to be an undisclosed location, where the NHL and NHLPA plan on meeting this time with federal mediators in tow – the same mediators that walked away just after Thanksgiving saying no thanks, we can’t help end this battle.
The target for Operation Valkyrie – Donald Fehr. Looking back at history, the original Valkyrie failed – Hitler survived, and those behind the coup d’état were arrested and executed. What the real Valkyrie did was show the weakness that existed in the German Third Reich.
If hockey is set to return for the 2012-2013 season, which it very well could, the NHLPA needs to enact Operation Valkyrie – even if its a red herring move. Remove Donald Fehr from the equation, so the NHL can capitalize on the weakness that is the portion of the NHLPA that wants needs to be playing hockey right now, and sign a collective bargaining agreement that brings hockey back for the foreseeable future.
Get a deal in place – and deal with the fact that Fehr is still around after the fact. Given his age – he won’t make it as the head of NHLPA to the next round of negotiations, at 64 – an eight year deal would make him 72, and hopefully well into retirement and not ruining another sport. Complete the damage control within the union after the season starts.
The only problem with the operation being a success, the coup has to come from the rank and file of the NHLPA – it certainly won’t come from the top percentage of players who will benefit from the lockout – so don’t plan on Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin or the like to step up to the task. Who will be our Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg – and will they get enough support of the card carrying members to make it a success.
The only way for this to end quickly is for the union to wave the flag – the NHLPA is trying to hard to get their salaries to match the other sports – truth be told, the NHL will never be able to meet the financial means necessary to support that.