The NHL and NHLPA have reached a point of potentially experiencing a second NHL lockout in less than a decade.
There are significant losers if this does happen, and very limited winners as well.
So, why has it not been resolved?
That's for both parties to figure out, but it seems the difference in desires for the new CBA will continue to hinder the possibility of hockey resuming on schedule.
As mentioned, this will be the second lockout for the NHL since 2004-05. If it does happen, many fans will be experiencing another void in their lives, as they did eight years ago.
After all the hype of the offseason, including Rick Nash with the Rangers, or Zach Parise and Ryan Suter heading to Minnesota, losing this season will mean a lot to both the teams and the fans.
Here are the five most important reasons the NHL and NHLPA need to avoid another lockout.
The men who decide the fate of all professional sports leagues in North America. Busy little bees, aren't they?
Imagine, a fall without the NFL or the NBA.
In 2011, it almost happened.
As the NFL was on the verge of a lockout, this NY DailyNews report grasps the level of necessity to get a deal done.
Notice the word "urgency."
The interesting part about this report is it's dated June 2, 2011.
Why? The NFL season started September 8, 2011.
It is now August 17, and the NHL is set for lockout on September 15 if a deal is not made.
The most recent news provided by the NHL Videocenter suggests that both sides are still far apart.
With respect to the NBA, they were not able to save the entire season, but they started a 66-game schedule on Christmas Day. Considering this New York Times report on the NBA deal, it was not an easy process.
The downfall of the shortened season? Temporary unemployment, missed ticket sales and shortened time for teams to get their chemistry right, to name a few.
Maybe the NHL should put in the same effort if they really want to save the season.
The IIHF World Junior Championships really helped hockey fans cope with the loss of NHL hockey.
As a fan of the NHL since childhood, the previous lockout was similar to the emotions felt on a Backstreet Boys song that can't help but come to mind.
"There's something missing in my heart."
To understand the loss of NHL hockey in 2004-05, refer to the song "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" by the Backstreet Boys on their album, Millennium.
So yeah, the previous lockout hurt. It hurt bad.
The best thing for hockey that year was the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Just to name some of the players who participated in the tournament that year: Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Radulov, Tukka Rask, Michael Frolik, David Krejčí, the Kostitsyn brothers, Corey Schneider, Ryan Callahan, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber, Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Mike Richards.
To name a few.
If it were not for that World Junior Championship tournament, hockey fans, especially the Canadian ones, would have considerably less to cheer about.
But more importantly, players were either playing internationally or for teams outside of their regular NHL franchises in North America. The lockout not only resulted in a loss of NHL hockey, but a chance for all teams to develop their squads as they normally would.
Hopefully, we can avoid the same outcome and prevent another NHL lockout.
Do these gentlemen deserve to be multi-millionaires? Questionable, at the very least.
According to SportsBusinessDaily.com, Gary Bettman's salary is on the verge of hitting 8$ million. His trusty associates, Bill Daly and Colin Campbell, are sitting between $2-3 million.
The deputy commissioner and senior vice president merit, approximately, the league average salary?
Sometimes, even the greedy need to draw a line somewhere.
According to CapGeek.com, Sidney Crosby is set to make, in salary, $7.5 million. Steven Stamkos, who scored 60 goals last season, is set to make $8 million.
Does Gary Bettman deserve similar salary to Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos?
It seems you don't need spiritual enlightenment to see the light.
If a chocolate factory decides to stop producing chocolate, or if employment contracts end with their current workers, chances are there isn't any chocolate being made. The worst part of all is, employees who need the money are sadly out of luck.
That's a lot of missing chocolate, and a lot of temporary unemployment.
Now imagine that a group of, say, 30 chocolate factories in North America experience the same thing. Not only is the continent not producing chocolate, but a bunch of real-life Oompa-Loompas are out of work.
The same goes for hockey if an NHL lockout happens this season.
There are employees who, if the 2012-13 NHL season fails to begin, need to find new ways of providing for their families.
Is that fair to the individuals who don't reap the benefits of "big business"?
Though they have substantially different pay grades, NHL players and employees are in the same boat. The key difference is that the fate of the less well-off are in the hands of the already rich.
With that said, the importance of avoiding another NHL lockout, in less than a decade, becomes quite obvious when considering all parties involved.
There is no better, or more important, reason to make sure this NHL season is saved.
The fans have absolutely no financial gain from the NHL resuming in 2012-13.
In fact, NHL fans would probably save a lot of money if the season does not begin as scheduled.
Why? Because the fans are the reason both parties, the NHL executives and the players, have the ability to make the money they do.
For example, when the NFL was about to go on strike, this Sports Illustrated article discussed other options for players if the lockout took place.
The CFL, the Canadian Football League, is a great example to show the difference in simple monetary value. While the salary cap in the CFL is $4.25 million, the average salary is $50,000.
On the other hand, the NFL had a team cap of $130 million, where the average salary was $1.9 million.
Why is this important? One of the primary reasons, if not the most important, is the fanbase of both leagues. As a Canadian, it's almost comical, the difference in fanfare, especially north of the border.
Since the NHL is virtually a monopoly with regards to hockey in North America, anyone who loves hockey is watching the NHL, purchasing merchandise and acquiring tickets.
So why should the NHL resume before September 15?
We, the fans, pay your salaries and support your teams. The least the NHL could do is guarantee us an NHL season every year, because we're willing to spend our hard-earned money on you.
Not the other way around.