NHL Lockout: Negotiations Reaching Do-or-Die Status with All-Star Game Looming

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. Joining him from left to right is Ruslan Fedotenko, Henrik Lundqvist, Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As if the cancellation of early-season games wasn't bad enough, the NHL All-Star Game may be the next victim of the work stoppage.

According to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch, the All-Star Game is expected to be axed on Friday.

The event would be the 60th game in NHL All-Star history.

Obviously, the loss of the All-Star Game will be saddening to fans, but the loss of the game also means the additional loss of two more weeks' worth of regular-season games. That's a grand total of 422 games. With the lockout now 69 days in, the NHL is really on the brink of cancelling the entire season.

Considering the league's history of strikes and work stoppages, one has to wonder if the league can really survive losing an entire season of games.

There has been small progress made towards a deal, as the two sides agreed to move entry-level contracts from two years to three (h/t Aaron Ward of TSN).

One movement on part of NHL, they did move on term of entry level to 3 years#TSN

— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) November 21, 2012

However, in the grand scheme of things, the length of entry-level contracts is small-time compared to the much larger issues that must be ironed out between the two sides.

It's nice to see that the players and owners can reach an agreement on something, but if both sides don't start coming to the table willing to make real concessions, the future of the league is grim.

According to Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, the two sides are exactly $182 million apart (h/t Yahoo! Sports).

That's where the real progress needs to be made. When it comes down to it, the accessory things like entry-level contracts won't mean much if the two sides can't come to an agreement about the money.

With nearly 34 percent of the season in jeopardy already and no sign of a new deal coming to fruition anytime soon, the time is now for both sides to come together and end the lockout as soon as possible.