Three days remain until an NHL lockout could commence, but there is still a glimmer of hope as the owners and players are set to meet Wednesday morning, according to Tom Gulitti of The Record (via Twitter).
As you can imagine, there's been no shortage of opinions from hockey experts, many of whom covered the previous lockout in 2005.
Let's take a look at what some experts are saying about the latest CBA talks.
TSN's Bob McKenzie writes an amazing column on the CBA talks. Here is an excerpt from the piece:
The last lockout was fought on ideology—the free market system vs. the cap system. It was foolish to lose a whole season on that basis, but it's not the first or last time a war was fought defending a principle or ideal. Dumb, but understandable. This time around, though, the "system" isn't on trial so much as they're just trying to figure out how to share a dollar. Or a few billion of them.
This article is an absolute must-read, and might make you feel like an expert after reading. I encourage anyone who is still confused about the history, or the issues at hand during these negotiations to read this article from McKenzie.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Sun has an interesting opinion on Saturday's deadline. What does it really mean? He explains.
Saturday will come and Saturday will go and nothing of substance will have changed for either side.
Yes, the players will be locked out, but they aren’t in camp and camp was still a few days away. More to the point, it’s understandable that any deadline that doesn’t have a paycheque attached to it, or the loss of one, would mean a great deal or begin the uncomfortable shifting in chairs at union meetings when the next vote comes.
Cox writes later in the article:
The real deadline here, folks, is weeks away. Maybe months. It’s not a date in September or October, for sure, and quite possibly not November.
It's hard to disagree with Cox. However, just because the September 15 deadline passes, doesn't mean that negotiations between the players and owners will automatically get better. It would be surprising if any significant progress was made in the week or two after the expiration of the current CBA.
Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com tweets about the owners giving out contracts longer than what they proposed. Contracts should be signed for in their initial proposal earlier in the summer.
Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) September 11, 2012
7 of last 9 one-way NHL contracts signed are longer than league's own proposed 5-year term limit. Clubs not on board with the Board/Gary.— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) August 30, 2012
In other words, NHL teams this summer have been signing players to contracts the league has no intention of paying in full.— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) August 31, 2012
Even if the owners believe that there will be salary rollbacks in the new CBA, signing these players to the long-term deals we have seen this summer is still a risk because there is no guarantee of a rollback.
The players did accept a 24 percent rollback during the last work stoppage, but it would be surprising if they accepted a similar rollback this time around, especially with the league's revenues being so high. After the outcome of the last lockout, don't expect the players to give in as easily this time around.
Do you think a new CBA will be finalized before Saturday?
The massive role that social media has on our everyday lives will greatly impact any negative reaction that the fans and media will have if there's another NHL lockout.
People who have ideas on how to protest the lockout, will be able to quickly get their message out and build support. Players could also use their own Twitter accounts to voice their thoughts on the latest developments surrounding the CBA talks.
Saturday will be a monumental day in the history of the NHL, and to get an idea if it's going to be a good day or a bad day, all you'll need to do is check Twitter when you wake up.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL lead writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.