Well, here we are yet again – another round of the media proclaiming success and happiness was imminent, and yet another round of reality rearing its ugly head to stomp on all those dreams. Predictable, really – and yet, some people just can’t help but make themselves giddy hoping for things to happen, no matter the ultimate cost.
Myself, I’m thrilled that talks have broken down yet again. I don’t care about the positions of the NHL or the NHLPA or the posturing each side has engaged in; I’m more concerned with actually seeing a solution that makes sense both short-term and long-term. Throughout all of the discussions, offers, and counter-offers, neither side has shown an interest in actually doing that – and ultimately, that’s going to guarantee that before the end of the next CBA, both teams and fans (and maybe even players) are looking at the CBA in effect and say, “really – how did that not get fixed?”
Perhaps that’s intentional. It probably is. Certainly, based on the new rules created in the global agreement that approved the Kovalchuk contract
, they weren't interested in actually fixing things - they just wanted to slap a band-aid on and hope everything magically got better. However, I prefer actual solutions to band-aid, feel-good, do-nothing, “oops, we created a new problem that we have to fix now” faux-solutions like have been continually offered up … but that’s a topic for another time.
So … where do things go from here? Already, the slant of “this is still positive, it’s part of negotiating, give it time” has started to creep out. That’s about as accurate as “the NHL isn’t really interested in contract rules, it’s just a bargaining chip” which Daly indicated during tonight’s press conference is “the hill we’re willing to die on,” or Fehr’s repeated claims that “we’re pretty close on dollars” that Daly shot down time and time again. It’s hogwash. This is the beginning of the end.
I suspect Bettman will call a meeting of the Board of Governors shortly and ask for their recommendation on both future offers and a drop-dead date to cancel the season. Both will be decided, and Bettman will get in front of a microphone and say something to the effect of, “this is the final offer, if it’s not accepted by X date the season is off.”
Don’t be surprised if we go over the cliff.