Well let me just dive right in here. No toe in the deep end to test the water temperature, no jovial opening – I’ll just rush straight on in.
Happy Holidays from the most ridiculous work stoppage in professional sports history!
As the NHL officially cancelled all games through December 30th this week, we won’t see any Bruins, Leafs, Habs or defending champion Kings in 2012. Sure, maybe they’ll win us all around with a huge New Years Eve extravaganza – with free tickets and champagne for the fans that are still actual fans and all that…wait a second…this is the NHL I’m talking about!
If there is indeed a Christmas miracle – and I stress that this would be beyond a miracle – then maybe there will be hockey in early January 2013. Commissioner Gary Bettman has reiterated that there needs to be at least a 48-game schedule for this thing to be worth while, or it’s lights’ out on another costly lockout.
I guess the 526 games already chopped (roughly 43% of the usual league campaign) weren’t ‘worth while’ thus far?! If this 48-game dash to the Stanley Cup is to happen, then the NHL and NHLPA would need to get this thing figured out once-and-for-all by the middle, to late December.
The final CBA agreement would need to be ratified by a myriad of lawyers and official ‘bean-counters’ before any training camp could start. Then guys from all over the globe would need to get to where they need to be. Guys in the KHL would have incredibly long journeys for example. And, others who haven’t jumped ship to other teams in other leagues, would need to dust off their gear and head to all 30 NHL cities.
This takes time of course, then the training camps for all clubs would need at least a week. From the time of any tentative agreement being reached, to the actual puck-drop on game one of this shortened season, would take anywhere from two to three weeks. So, it’s not hard to see that for the NHL and NHLPA to put this all square for early January – the time is now, to get in a room and just NEGOTIATE the hell out of this thing, and end the misery!
Here’s hoping that the script that the owners and Bettman are singing from has dealt it’s final theatrics, and here’s hoping that the NHLPA and Donald Fehr have bluffed their way as far as they can go. Let’s collectively hope that both sides are finally at the edge of the cliff, and have both looked over the side, to see the horrible mess that accompanies another lost season. Both sides could in essence destroy the league, and brand in the next week – if they haven’t already (many believe it’s too little, too late at this point no matter the outcome).
Here’s hoping for a Christmas hockey miracle folks…or we could be on the verge of the death of the NHL as we know it!
You can follow Murph on Twitter @MurphOnIce