NHL Lockout 2012: Time for Change in Leadership Evident with No End in Sight

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2012

OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 20:  NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman speaks with Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 20, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It's time for the circus to get a new ringmaster.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed to meet on Monday:

NHL and PA expect to meet Monday night. Smaller group, but players and owners likely included.

— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 17, 2012

But really, what's the point?

Do we actually expect anything of substance to come from this?

Based on the comments from Gary Bettman's sidekick, Bill Daly, there's no reason for optimism (h/t ESPN):

We can confirm that we have tentatively agreed to get back together on Monday, either late in the afternoon or early evening. The meeting was requested by the union and it's their agenda. We will see what they have to tell us.

So let me get this straight.

Not only do Gary Bettman and Bill Daly have something more pressing to do on Monday morning and afternoon other than try and save their fledgling league from become completely irrelevant, but they can't even confirm the appointment?

They've "tentatively agreed" to a meeting?

Surely, you can't be serious.

This is no laughing matter, and there is no excuse for both sides to have not locked themselves in a room and hammered out an agreement that works for everyone.

The fact that we have already lost two months of the season and the Winter Classic with hardly any progress made towards a resolution is absurd.

The fact that this is the third work stoppage under the inept leadership of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is beyond absurd—it's unbelievable.

He has managed to take the greatest spectator sport on the planet and make it so utterly irrelevant that fewer and fewer lifetime hockey fans are even paying attention to what's going on.

It's become evident that Bettman is more interested in "breaking" the union—in proving to the world that he can win a staring contest against Fehr—than he is in getting the product back onto the ice.

Earth to Gary—you can't.

Donald Fehr is smarter than you are. The MLBPA didn't become the most powerful union in sports by some fluke—Fehr led them there.

If the NHL owners are truly interested in bringing yet another embarrassing chapter in their league's history to a swift and merciful end, it's time to replace Gary Bettman and Bill Daly as the voices of the league.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend to have two people I'd suggest as replacements, because I don't.

But at this point, I'd give these two a try.

They certainly can't do any worse.