LOCKOUT: Day 39 – We’re only talking in secret.


May 7, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference regarding the potential sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to the Jamison Group prior to game five of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The league is very likely going to cancel more games. It could possibly happen sometime to tomorrow. Once again, both sides have degenerated into an adolescent contest where the opponents can not even agree on the venue for the next set of meetings. That is the current public status of the NHL-NHLPA negotiations. However, as I was skimming through the internet, this little gem caught my eye. I thought I would share it with all of you.

Apparently some time tonight a clandestine meeting between NHL commissioner and Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Don Fehr took place.  This sub-rosa meeting was apparently an attempt to jump start the negotiations between the two warring parties in an attempt to get the 2012-2013 season started.  The clock is ticking, and is approaching midnight. According to the source quoted from the Hockey Insider, Bettman’s ‘point of no return’ is December 1st. He has made the people within his entourage aware the new deal has to be signed before December 1st.

December 1st? OK. I can’t see Bettman cancelling the season this early. It took him till the middle of February 2005 to cancel the 2004-05 season. What could be gained in coming up with that kind of deadline? Perhaps the ownership is starting to fracture. The profitable and big market teams are now starting to lose serious money, and that might be the deadline for Bettman to make any half-reasonable deal(from the owners’ perspective.). Maybe one of the teams of the verge of insolvency could have asked for that line in the sand(to shore up investors, or perhaps look to the league of joining the Phoenix Coyotes in some form of structured receivership?).

Another disturbing possibility is that the December 1st line is the deadline to kill the Winter Classic. The ownership could be holding out that long to launch another wallop of a PR coup. (Granted, this would not be a positive for the owners, but another let’s grab the players and the union and drag them down to our level in the eyes of the fans PR coup.) If the WC gets cancelled, this will probably be the beginning of a full-out fans revolution.

So, we’re probably going to see more games cancelled tomorrow, and we have the commissioner of the league with his finger on the nuclear button if something doesn’y happen in thirty days. Four workstoppages in one person’s tenure is a record no sane individual would want. So, is Bettman really crazy, or is he just taking a bucket load of money from the NFL or the NBA so they can get their sport promoted with less competition?