June 15, 2011; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; General view of the Boston Bruins locker room after game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Boston defeated Vancouver 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

NHL LOCKOUT: Day 87- The current butcher's bill.

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The current NHL lockout has become intolerable. I’ve asked people who got through the 04-05 lockout on how they survived. For some people it was a lot of Xbox and similar systems.  Thankfully, Providence is a hockey town and they got to see some of the B’s sporting the ‘P’.

If the current cancellation holds, then the NHL’s current total is 526 lost games. This accounts for nearly 43 percent of the regular season.  If we use last years’ revenue and project it against the current lost games, then a safe estimate is that the NHL (league and franchise owners) has lost a collective one billion four hundred and twelve million dollars.   Still wanting to have that lockout to spite Fehr now fellas?

As director of the NHL, Gary Bettman has overseen his fourth work stoppage. The current amount of NHL games that have been cancelled under Bettman’s aegis is a mind blowing 2,224. That’s right folks over two thousand games wiped off the books. Nine current NHL franchises have played fewer regular season games then Bettman has cancelled! (San Jose Sharks (1608), Tampa Bay Lightning & Ottawa Senators (1528), Anaheim Ducks & Florida Panthers (1444), Nashville Predators (1066), Winnipeg Jets & Atlanta Thrashers (984), Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild (902)).

Sadly, most of the aforementioned teams are in the red and are very likely part of the Jacobs(Bruins) and Bettman(Coyotes, by proxy) voting block to overturn any CBA proposal that doesn’t fork over large sums of cash their way.

Now the rumor mill has been grinding away all sorts of possible scenarios. Once again both the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to keep talking. This time is will very likely b e in a neutral location. (Perhaps both sides could agree on two neutral fans to help push the negotiations along. *waves license to be a mental health counselor*) The biggest leaps in progress have occurred when the NHL’s #2 Daly and his counterpart with the NHLPA, Steve Fehr, have met. While Daly may occasionally grate on me, he has been the closest thing the players have had to a voice on the other side. (Unless you want to count Sidney Crosby’s near goal last week.)

Negotiations have nowhere to go but up at present. The league essentially pulled its most recent offer after the union failed to provide a “yes-or-no”(a very polite ultimatum) answer on their three non-negotiable items: five-year contract term limits, a 10-year CBA and compliance on the transition rules. After the nutty contract plays made by the owners, and the current CBA fiasco, one does have to wonder why the players balked at this.

The union tried attempted to issue a counter proposal. That was quickly rejected by the league. (Figuring in the NHL’s “response” to “new ideas”, it made you wonder why the players attempted such a risky gambit. Donald Fehr. He further irked ownership by participating in a dueling press conference. He had reported that the talks were reaching a successful closure while the owners had Bettman tell the press that the talks had stalled yet again.

One and a half billion dollars lost. Unless you’re Bill Gates or the Sultan of Brunei you can’t really soak that kind of loss. That the owners have done this much damage to themselves (in order to get a CBA that will stop them from damaging themselves) borders on madness. I can only hope that the new round of ‘secret’ negotiations screws some people’s heads on straight and gives us at least an abbreviated season.

On a personal note, the only meeting this year between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins was cancelled. This indignity is especially hard to bear. (Pun intended.) I have met fans from every team, and with the exception of the Canucks crowd, I have found every other team’s fans the nicest bunch of people I could disagree about hockey with.

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