NHL Lockout: Will CBA Talks Resume in Time to Avoid December Game Cancellations?

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NHL Lockout: Will CBA Talks Resume in Time to Avoid December Game Cancellations?
Gary Bettman

The NHL and NHLPA have not met for CBA talks since Sunday, and if no progress is made soon, we could see more cancellations in the near future, according to Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal:

Botta doesn't mention when the possible season-cancelling announcement could come, but it's difficult to envision this date being before some time in late-January.

League commissioner Gary Bettman waited until February 16 to announce that the 2004-05 season would not be played, and I would expect a similar timetable during this lockout given what's at stake.

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The loss of another full year would cripple the NHL, so it would be shocking if Bettman didn't wait until the absolute last minute before making that kind of decision.

The players have not taken many of the league's deadlines seriously throughout this work stoppage, and this isn't likely to change.

Even if Bettman does plan to cancel December games at some point in the next week, don't expect the players to make any major concessions on the important issues in response to the deadline.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is not going to panic over a "deadline" set by the league. He knows what his players want in the next agreement and won't allow the owners to affect his negotiating with deadlines.

If the two sides do not resume negotiations soon, then a federal mediator should be brought to the table in an attempt to find a fair agreement for both sides. However, it would be a bit surprising if the league agreed to this.

Another game-cancellation deadline isn't likely to have a major impact on the negotiations or the two sides' demands on the important labor issues, but it will likely make fans a bit more nervous about the 2012-13 season.

Will talks resume in time for a CBA to get done and avoid more cancellations? Bargaining could certainly resume, but at the moment, it would be foolish to think that a new agreement will be reached in the next week.

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