Despite discussions between the NHL and the NHLPA on Saturday, the two sides are still far apart on their proposals for the league’s new collective bargaining agreement and there appears to be no end in sight for the lockout, according to ESPN.
That is not good news for NHL fans hoping to get back their regular-season hockey.
With the league cancelling all games through Nov. 1, the hope of having a full season is starting to diminish, and the fact that both sides have refused to budge on the “core economic issues” proves that no resolution is close.
The fear that an entire season could be lost may be coming to fruition as we speak.
If there is no NHL hockey in 2012, it would be the ultimate slap in the face to every hockey fan across the world.
What They’re Saying
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told AOL Sporting News about where the two sides are at in terms of reaching a deal:
We are nowhere close. I am concerned based on the proposal that was made today that things are not progressing. To the contrary, I view the proposal made by the players' association in many ways a step backward…I don't know what the next step is. I'm obviously very discouraged.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr put in his point of view in a statement obtained by Yahoo! Sports:
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.
Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby told the Associated Press via AOL Sporting News about the players’ mindset coming into the deal-making process and how quickly it was shut down:
We came in here today with those proposals thinking that we could really make some progress. To hear those words (from Bettman) kind of shuts it down pretty quickly. In a nutshell it doesn't look good.
What I Think
While there are huge differences between the 2004 and the 2012 NHL lockouts, the main similarity is the way each side has taken its position and dug in for a long battle.
As much as both sides want to blame the other, there is no question that everyone involved knew what would happen and was prepared for the chance of missing the entire season. Not only are the sides just battling each other for public relations supremacy right now, they are ignoring the main goal of getting hockey back.
The league and the players’ association are just posturing for the eventual compromises that must be made, but the sides are still so far apart that each is almost resigned to losing a majority, if not all, of the season.
As much as both sides want to claim they are trying to get the season back as soon as possible, the fact that neither is willing to make the compromises needed to get a new CBA done proves that the fans will be without hockey for the long haul.
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