It didn’t have to come down to the eleventh hour, but it has, and Gary Bettman and the NHL have put a deadline on the regular season. If no deal is in place by January 11th – just nine days away, there will be no National Hockey League in 2012-2013. A second Stanley Cup in eight years will be vacated and left to collect dust with no winner.
Both sides, the NHL and the NHLPA seem eager now to get a deal done, with both sides pitching more reasonable offers to one another in the hopes of bridging whatever gap remains between the two sides.
Personally, I think the lockout could have been avoided if the two sides would have played ball in September – we should have never gotten to this point. The fact of the matter, if the NHL wanted to prove something to the players and hold paychecks, we could have started in November and still be able to fit an entire season in.
As it stands now, the NHL have pitched a counter offer back to the players, and negotiations seem to be ongoing. The best news out of the cryptic meetings that have taken place right around new years, is the presence of what seems to be a ten year deal. If a ten year deal is signed, then fans don’t have to start worrying about another Mayan like meltdown until 2023. Language that both sides should be clamoring for is the ability for one or both sides to begin the negotiating process much earlier in the year than waiting for summer to pass us by and the liklihood of a lockout to occur again.
I am still anti-NHL until the deal is actually signed and done. There have been too many let downs by this league for me to get my hopes up about a deal before the ink is dry on the paper. Even then I will be leary until I see a puck hit the ice, because I don’t trust the verbal agreeance of Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman as far as I can throw them.