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Hurry up and wait — only time will end the lockout

Nov 29, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

End the lockout Getty Images

The NHL would love the players to think the season could be canceled tomorrow. Forget mediation, that would be the best way to get the union’s best offer.

The consensus opinion, however, is that the owners won’t pull the trigger until the New Year.

From the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

The 2004-05 NHL season was cancelled in February, but it probably won’t be that late this time. A few executives believe the true “red alert” is between January 1st and 15th.

A couple of weeks ago, veteran forward Mike Knuble said he thinks negotiations will start in earnest “sometime in December.”

“I just think that when the NHL wants to be serious about talking we’ll get a deal done. But I don’t think they’re at that point yet,” Knuble said.

“I believe they still feel their time line isn’t there yet. When it will be I think we’ll all know it and I think things will happen pretty quickly when they get to their time line.”

While it’s easy to panic (the league is hoping the players are doing exactly that), it’s important to remember that compared to this time in 2004 (back then, the players were still steadfastly refusing to accept a salary cap), the two sides aren’t actually that far apart.

But as Friedman notes, the “concern among the [moderate owners] is that the mushroom cloud between the two sides continues to build, which endangers the possibility of a last-minute settlement.”

One way the mushroom cloud could build is if the union were to start the decertification process. Last week, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that “would likely lead to the end of the season.”

Another way is if the owners were to pull the $211 million they’ve offered to the players in “make whole” funds off the table.

Unfortunately, as more time passes without an agreement, both those options become more likely.

Bit of a Catch 22 there.

The two sides, along with federal mediators, are back at the negotiating table today. However, there hasn’t been a ton of optimism that third-party intervention will help end the lockout.

The most important factor in this process has always been time.

  1. millertime30 - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Last week, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that “would likely lead to the end of the season.”

    Can something really end without ever beginning?

  2. lordfletcher - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    all I can think of is,….

    “RELAX, IT’S OVER, baby
    Hey ref you know you could call this thing now and we can all get home in time to see melrose.”

    – Averman, Mighty Ducks

  3. ibieiniid - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    my brain hurts

  4. General Lee 1175 - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    boring

    • Jason Brough - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Sorry, next time I’ll add a car chase and some explosions.

      • General Lee 1175 - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        least car chases and explosions arent locked out huh ?

      • ballistictrajectory - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Don’t forget the angst ridden alternative pop-rock soundtrack… We need that. Otherwise it’s just another car chase with explosions.

  5. chrisvegas - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    It just doesn’t make sense that the season has to be lost so they can come to a deal. Just come to the deal now and stop wasting time! ARGH!!!!!

    • General Lee 1175 - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      The season will be a joke if it bothers to start now , who’s going to watch an abbreviated shortened NHL season ? it’s not like you can award a team the SC and have anyone in the Sports World take it seriously ! … shut this Gong Show down and fix it over the summer

      • chrisvegas - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

        The best part of the season is the second half and the playoffs, not the first half. So far we haven’t missed the best part of the season. There still is time.

  6. thedavesiknowiknow - Nov 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

  7. capsrockva - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Just get the dam deal done for the fans sake. We are the ones that are suffering

    • General Lee 1175 - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      you’ll suffer even more watching your team never win the big prize. take a year off to re-energize kid.

  8. gc19 - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Enough with the timeline formalities. Just cancel the season and the NHL altogether, because 3 lockouts in 17 years is absurd. Start a new league with a new union, player reps, and commissioner. If the NHL stays this will happen again in 6 more years. Reality is the the NHL lost its casual fans again so that only leaves the diehard fans to come back, and the diehards will come back to see a new professional league no matter what it’s called. Congrats to the NHL for dropping the ball and destroying all its momentum when they were at an all time high.

  9. fortwaynekomets - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    seriously who cares at this point? the damage is done. half the seasons been snorted up Bettmans nose while the rest of us sit and suffer. what a joke.

    I am so thankful for America One Sports online where you can watch the ECHL, CHL, & College Hockey!!! Getting to watch every past game On Demand is amazing too!

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