Last week's embarrassing end to the latest round of CBA talks between the NHL and NHLPA was very frustrating for hockey fans to experience, but not all the momentum built over the last few weeks has been destroyed.
Why should fans still be hopeful that the two sides will make a deal?
As Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports helps explain, the players are much closer to many of the owners' demands than they ever have been.
Look what NHL has gotten PA to accept: 50% HRR, term limits, tighter circumvention restrictions, longer CBA. Declare win? Or squeeze more?— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) December 8, 2012
When both sides cool off after an emotional week of intense bargaining and frustration over the lack of a deal, we can expect the owners and players to continue negotiating on the key issues on which both sides are still far apart.
NHL + NHLPA have had actual conversations (not just email) this weekend and likely will talk again today, but no meetings are scheduled yet— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 9, 2012
Minor clarification: NHL + NHLPA have had at least one conversation, not necessarily multiple ones, so far this weekend.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) December 9, 2012
Some people thought that last week's events could result in "deep freeze," but since the league and players have continued communications, we can expect CBA talks to likely continue at some point in the near future. Both sides want to make a deal, but they want to do it on their own terms.
Even though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during his press conference on Thursday night that several concessions the owners gave the players are now off the table, likely including the "make whole" provision, it's hard to take him seriously.
There's little reason to believe anything has really come off the bargaining table, as we have seen the league continue to move off its initial proposal from July despite threatening multiple times that its offers wouldn't get better.
If the owners actually took the "make whole" provision off the table, the season would probably be lost because the players will not agree to losing a large portion of their current contracts; they have already agreed to take a bit of a pay decrease by agreeing on a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue.
Last week's meetings showed us how close the two sides are on the money issues, as well as player contract rights. With small gaps separating the owners and players on several issues, there's plenty of incentive for both sides to make a deal.
As bleak as it seemed Thursday following emotional press conferences in NYC, both sides are pushing their leaders to get back to the table.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 9, 2012
We did have some momentum built on Tuesday and Wednesday, and much of that was ruined by Thursday evening, but hockey fans still shouldn't worry that the 2012-13 season will be cancelled.
It was easy to get discouraged following last week's meetings in New York, but the frustration and failure to make a new CBA did not destroy all the momentum built up over the last few weeks.