LOCKOUT: Day Sixteen – Weekend of talks, waiting for the bomb to drop


April 14, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the Washington Capitals celebrate a double overtime victory over the Boston Bruins as fans file out of the building after game two of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Well, the talks are back on. I guess that’s a step in the right direction. So far the NHL and the players union have discussed a lot of secondary issues. Player safety, retirement, and playing conditions were handled and met in a cordial manner. Unfortunately, the make or break issue of the 2012-2013 season, the matter of hockey-related revenue (HRR) was not. The NHL and the owners are preparing to shut down the talks again unless the players’ union is willing to have meetings specifically over HRR.

NHL deputy commissioner stated to the media the league’s intransigence on moving forward without HRR on the docket. “What we’re doing now and what we’ve done for the last two days, I don’t think any of that is going to get a deal done but they are all necessarily elements of the deal,” Daly said. “Again, I hate to keep saying it because I’m going to sound like a broken record, but we need some movement on the economic issues [from the Union]. We need some movement on the system issues. We need them to be scheduled as a subject of a meeting. Right now, the Union is not prepared to do that.”

This is true. Will the union settle for something less than fifty-seven percent? Yes, I’m sure they will. Will they take the low ball figures the ownership keeps trying to push as a ‘fair and sensible plan’? Highly unlikely. A quarter of the Bruins are already playing in Europe. That number will very likely only increase. The rest of the Boston Bruins will get by on their savings, or their payments from the NHLPA strike funds. The ownership keeps asking for a low percentage. (44% -49% depending on whatever offer was made in the last few weeks.) If this keeps up, it is entirely possible that NHLPA director Fehr will put the salary cap back on the table.

If the salary cap goes back up, the season as we know it will be over. It will also erase a lot of the good will the players’ side has enjoyed up till now. It is now October. The regular season starts in ten days.(We’re all sure that won’t happen.) The NHL will have no choice but to cancel games as early as tomorrow. When they do that, they will further alienate the fan base.  That alienated fan base thanks to the massive advances in social media technology will have the power to further damage the NHL’s reputation.  Another cancelled season could very likely mean the end of the NHL as we know it.