The NHL announced today that the first two weeks of the NHL season were cancelled, and it appeared that lockout was going to be in full effect.
NHLPA director Donald Fehr released a statement (kuklaskorner.com) to the NHL about the league's actions.
The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.
Although things appear to be grim right now, the NHLPA is still willing to negotiate, and that has been reflected in Andy Strickland's last tweet.
With the NHLPA set to make another proposal, the ball will shift back into the NHL's court. Up to this point, both sides have negotiated ancillary issues like insurance, travel costs and other non-essentials, but core economic issues have not been discussed in quite some time.
Once the NHLPA's newest offer is submitted and revealed, it will be interesting to see if the NHLPA moves away from its hard-line stance of maintaining 57 percent of H.R.R.
The NHL's most recent offer had a split of 52 percent going to the league and 48 percent to the players, so if the two sides can come together and split the gap, other issues like term limits can be decided upon.
Both sides don't want the lockout to continue because both sides stand to lose tons of revenue. Another lengthy lockout could also severely damage an NHL that is still recovering from the 2004-05 work stoppage.
The first two weeks of NHL may have been cancelled, but it is still early enough for the games to be rescheduled. Once the NHLPA's offer is revealed, there will be a better sense of how long, or how close the lockout is to being resolved.