NHL Lockout: Talks to Resume Friday

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Updated: September 28, 2012

Friday, a little bit of hope will be restored to us all.  Talks have been revitalized as the NHL and its players have agreed to open negotiations back up this week.

 

It’s not great news, but its progress; and if anyone remembers the last lockout eight years ago like I do, both sides didn’t resume any talks for three months after the owners locked out the players, which ultimately ended in cancelling the season.  It’s hard to believe that the NHL would let it get to that point again, but that could just be the hopeless optimist in me.

 

At this point, there is a lot of speculation about where both sides stand.  Some speculate that it’s only a small handful of struggling owners who want the new CBA to be structured to help them with revenue sharing from the bigger markets like Detroit, New York or Toronto.  Others say that the players don’t want to lose out on big paydays when the league does well and aren’t willing to give up their monster 15 year, $100 million plus contracts.

 

No matter how selfish fans may think they are being, it’s the reality.  And unless fans don’t come back when games resume, neither side is really worried about the stoppage.

 

Unlike some sports, most of the NHL’s fan base is passionate about hockey.  There are many fans that live for the game, need it to fight their urges, and can’t live without it.  The idea of a casual hockey fan is almost silly – you either eat, breath and preach it, or you don’t care for it.  No matter how long this lockout lasts, most of us will patiently wait, and once it returns our love for the game will return.

Who knows how long this lockout will drag on.  Players like Dan Cleary of the Detroit Red Wings think it will be longer than the last, while others think the NHL would be stupid to have this one last longer than 20 games.  I would hate for more people to lose their jobs over the selfishness of the ones with all the money, like the 20 in St. Louis.

What’s lost in all of this is the fact that hockey, the game itself, has never been better; and that’s the one thing fans, owners and players can all agree on.  It is in everyone’s best interest that the greatest athletes in the world get back to playing the game they were born to play.

 

Sure, I’m an optimist.  I want hockey back bad (I’ve got winter classic tickets).  For now, the fact that both sides are willing to talk has restored what little hope we have left.

 

I remember exactly where I was the day Gary Bettman told the few of us watching that Wednesday afternoon back in 2004 that there would be no hockey that year.  I felt empty; a part of me was gone, and as angry as I got – I came back more passionate than ever.

 

Most would call me foolish.  I’d have to agree.

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