They did it again.
The NHL and NHLPA managed to ramp up everyone's hopes before swiftly shooting them down.
After marathon sessions of negotiating in New York City this past week (that even included team owners bargaining directly with players), CBA talks have taken a step backwards.
According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the NHL has, for the time being, taken their entire make-whole provision off the table:
Bettman says the Make Whole provision in its entirety as a concept is OFF the table.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 7, 2012
So what went wrong? Were the two sides ever as close as the NHLPA claimed?
Apparently not, according to Gary Bettman.
With talks stalled indefinitely (again, according to LeBrun), it doesn't appear as though salvaging a season is likely:
Fehr says NHL left a voicemail message saying NHLPA counter wasn't acceptable. No need to stick around today or Friday. Talks broken for now— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 7, 2012
Remember, this all happened after Donald Fehr claimed he felt that the league and player's association had come to an agreement on major issues like player pensions and the league's make-whole provision:
Fehr says he believes there's agreement on pension issue— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 6, 2012
When Fehr says he thinks there's agreement on total dollars, that includes accepting NHL's Make Whole offer he says— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 6, 2012
So it seems like the issue that is going to doom this NHL season is going to be contract lengths.
Yes, you read that correctly; whether or not contracts should be capped at five years or eight years is what seems to be holding negotiations up.
And it's a big one for the owners, with Bill Daly saying the following:
Daly says term limit on player contracts is so important to league it's "the hill we'll die on."— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 7, 2012
So there we have it.
Another season lost. With talks postponed and the calender just about ready to turn to 2013, the chances of a season being played out are beyond slim.
Despite the NHL claiming that there hasn't been a date set for the cancellation of the 2012-13, one has to believe that December 6, 2012 will be known as the day that killed the NHL season.