The NHL players and owners have not scheduled any formal meetings to resume negotiations for a new CBA, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, which is exactly what the fans don't want to hear at the beginning of another lockout.
Check out these interesting quotes that an NHL executive recently told Howard Berger of the National Post on his Berger Bytes blog.
“Deep down, the players know that if it comes to a stand-off, they cannot outlast the owners,” said the NHL executive. “Taking off to other leagues in Europe and the Nordic countries might make them feel better for awhile. But, it comes across to others as abandoning their position rather quickly.”
When asked – albeit rhetorically – what edge the players might have in this dispute, the executive replied, “None. We took away all of their leverage by canceling the playoffs in 2005. And, we’ll do it again, if we have to.”
The players will likely have to make more significant concessions to get a new CBA agreed to in time to save this season.
A new CBA won't get done without the players moving closer to what the owners want. It's an unfortunate scenario for the NHLPA, but it's the harsh reality.
The players have tried in their proposals to the league to craft a CBA that will help the league long-term, but thus far, the NHL hasn't been interested. And why would it be when the owners can defeat the players every five years or so when a new CBA has to be made?
The NHLPA cannot expect the league to concede many more millions of dollars just so the season doesn't have to be erased.
In hindsight, the players may regret not taking the offer that the league made last week. According to Bettman's comments made on Thursday regarding that offer, the players don't have the option of agreeing to that proposal anymore.
The fate of the upcoming season is in the players' hands. If the players really care about playing in the NHL this winter, they must take the responsibility of getting a deal done.
They must put personal pride to the side in order to do what's best for the sport, because that's something the owners won't do.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL lead writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. Follow him on Twitter.