As I write this, the clock is ticking. With each passing second, the likelihood of an 82-game NHL season decreases.
Last week, the NHL set a deadline of October 25 for a signed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to be in place. Any later than that, and the NHL said and there was no way they could make a full season happen. By the time you read this, odds are the deadline will have passed and with it hopes of fans, players and owners seeing a full season.
That fact is frustrating for all parties, to say the least. One player that seems especially frustrated by the ongoing lockout is Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
Miller, a 32-year-old veteran, has two years left on a five-year deal that was worth a total of $31.25 million. The deal is worth $6.25 million for each of the next two years, money that seems to be at risk if the NHL would get its way on a new CBA.
In an email to ESPN, Miller voiced his opinion on the situation, holding very little back:
I think that a deal is there to be made and recent events lead me to believe the NHL is simply testing us. After they have satisfied their curiosity about the strength of our resolve we will have real negotiating for the first time in this whole debacle.
During the last lockout, there were many that thought the NHL Players' Association caved and took a bad deal, accepting not only a salary cap, but a 24 percent rollback in salaries. This time, it looks like the NHLPA will stand strong and work toward getting a deal that makes sense for them.
And one of the biggest points for Miller and the rest of the NHLPA is to get full value for the remaining term of their signed contracts.
In his email, Miller points out that the NHL has the chance to grow its revenue stream in the very near future. The NHL’s broadcasting rights will be up for grabs in Canada by 2014, and there has been some talk of expansion with the signing of the new CBA. These two things could possibly bring an influx of cash into the league, money that will go to the NHL and not the NHLPA.
As Miller wrote, “The least they could do is honor our contracts and find a way to start the hockey season."
Most disappointing for Miller and many fans is the fact that there seems to be a deal to be made, but as Miller wrote, it appears that egos are getting in the way:
The two sides are close enough to a deal that missing the bulk of a season is wrong and missing an entire season is not only insane, it is a blatant disregard for the sport, the fans and the culture we have grown over decades -- just to satisfy egos, not the needs of either side.
While an 82-game season seems to be out the window, hope still remains for a portion of the 2012-13 season to be played. The question now is, Can the two sides get past the posturing and inflated egos?
Time will tell.