The NHL lockout has lasted long enough; it's time to cancel the rest of the season and put those next months towards talks about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It's not an easy answer for anyone to hear, but as of right now, it's the right one.
The NHL and NHLPA have been dragging negotiations on ever since the lockout started in September. Both sides have deliberately stalled on meetings and both are still far apart on an agreement for revenue sharing.
The last meeting for the two sides was on Monday, where NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said very little was accomplished (via Ira Podell, The Huffington Post):
We talked about various things. No new proposals were made, they were not expected to be made. We had hoped to engage them in a discussion about the player contracting issues that are so important to the players. At least tonight they were unwilling to do that.
Every time the two sides meet, it leads to another set of questions. It also seems that both sides are becoming increasingly bitter towards one another.
It's time to stop; too much time has been wasted already.
With more and more NHL players heading overseas and more games being canceled, the NHL should cancel the rest of the season.
Fans lost the Winter Classic, an event that was sure to bring millions of dollars of revenue to the city of Detroit. Gone is a good quarter of the season, and again that includes all the revenue for each game.
What the NHL and NHLPA are trying to save now is a shortened version of an NHL season—82 games is out of the question. The possibility of even 60 games is dwindling the longer talks take, and from a fan's perspective, that's simply not fair.
If the NHL and NHLPA somehow came to a deal overnight, a 60-game season will probably be the case. But is a 60-game season enough to warrant naming the next Stanley Cup champion?
An asterisk would have to be put next the name of any team who wins the Stanley Cup in a shortened season, because, let's be honest, the Cup deserves to be won with the strength of a full 82 games.
There is also the matter of NHL players in Europe and elsewhere. Injuries are starting to pile up, most recently with Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux injuring his neck playing for Eisbaren Berlin.
Stars who have lost valuable time in the NHL may come back battered and injured. There is even the threat from players like Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk to stay in Russia if the new CBA doesn't honor current contracts.
The lockout is just one big mess, and it will take more than a couple of weeks to fix it so that everyone is happy.
The entire 2004-2005 season was wiped out due to a lockout, and much like this one, bitterness and ego prevailed on both sides. The NHL was forced to cancel the season early in 2005 much to the fans' grief. Many said that the NHL would never survive a lockout, but it did. The NHL came back stronger, showing record profits and growth in North America.
It's time to cancel the 2012-13 season, not only because of a shortened season, but because it may be the only way the NHL and NHLPA actually reach a new deal.
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