The NHL would be wise to take a page out of the NBA's book this fall.
There's hope that it will.
The success of the 2011-12 NBA season gives hockey fans hope that their favorite superstars will return to the ice this winter.
Similar to the NBA a year ago, by far the biggest issue keeping both sides from agreeing on a new NHL collective bargaining agreement is the sharing of hockey-related revenues. According to ESPN.com, via The Associated Press, "Players received 57 percent of the net hockey-related revenues in the previous collective bargaining agreement, and owners want to bring that number down under 50 percent."
If you remember back to last fall, the NBA was in a very similar situation in terms of revenue sharing. The owners wanted more and the players wanted the same. Although the lockout went nearly a month into the regular season before it ended, the league managed to salvage a 66-game season that ultimately led to one of the most exciting postseasons in the Association's history.
Though, looking back now, last year's NBA lockout seems irrelevant and harmless. There were plenty of times when basketball fans had little hope to cling to an agreement that would be reached in time. The same can be said for hockey fans in North America this year.
With regular-season games at risk of being lost, and precious hockey going un-played, hope gets smaller and smaller by the day.
As a basketball lover, and fan of all sports, hockey included, it pains me to watch millionaires and billionaires argue over money. If the NBA's recent agreement and even the NFL officials' new CBA has taught us anything, though, it's that it doesn't take long for these leagues and organizations to realize what they're wasting.
Sooner or later, if a deal doesn't get done, no one will make money and everyone loses.
In any good deal, both sides must be reluctant to accept, but all that matters is that they accept. The NBA showed us last fall that if the threat of losing profit is great enough, one or both sides will cave.
With the calendar set to flip to October this week, I'm confident that hockey will return this season. The NBA couldn't withstand a lost season, and basketball is arguably the second-most popular sport in America.
With the NHL already trailing the NFL, NBA and MLB, it can't afford to suffer a lost season. In that, hockey fans have hope. As the holidays approach and players and owners alike begin to feel the pressure of being the reason why a season was lost, they'll give in.
It's a simple lesson that the NBA learned a year ago: play and generate revenue for both sides, or bicker and make zero profit. After all, 57 percent of nothing is nothing.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter so we can comfort each other during the NHL lockout.