NHL's Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr Looking to Agree...On Not to Talk?

Don GibsonContributor INovember 16, 2012

Questions?Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

t looks like Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr might be able to agree on something after all: not to talk. It's not only ironic. It's sad.

While the NHL owners and players claim to be serious in their proclamations—now some 60 days into the lockout—neither side is willing to make any real concessions. We need to be clear about this. Bettman, Fehr, Leipold and Crosby are engaged in a pantomime.

They are pretending to mean something, microphones in their sad little faces, drafts of contracts on their table, their ridiculous numbers—57%, 46%, 50%—in hand, but they're actually offering nothing. It's worse than nothing. It's a percentage of nothing. If they want to solve this lockout, they need to hire an arbitrator to do it for them.

Both sides are to blame. None of those involved in this dispute deserve empathy simply because they elected to have idle summer vacations. I'm sorry. Did I say idle? I'm wrong about that. The owners actually did engage in a spree of free agent signings, including Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold's outrageous signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter at $98 million apiece.

The players are no better, abandoning the ship like rats. Rick Nash (Switzerland), Erik Karlsson (Finland) and Evgeni Malkin (Russia) along with another 150 or so have decided to learn new languages and rinks. Indeed, as much as these players might impress, they can all be switched out.

Everyone—owners and players alike—can go wherever they wish. However, they need to understand that they don't own the game. The owners own stadiums. The players own skates. The fans own the game. We own hockey—the game, the cup, the dream, all of it. These others, these players and owners, these buffoons, they need to be reminded that they will be gone soon enough, all of them, and the game will remain.

But if they want to get back to work and make the NHL work—if they want to play hockey—they need to do that now.