If Bettman's suggestion goes through and Fehr and Bettman are lesioned from the situation with players and owners doing the raw negotiations, a deal will get done much faster so long as they keep it that way. It will. But one side will probably be a clear winner at the end of all of this because they'll quickly establish a language and the more persistent will probably outlast the other side.
The good news behind all of this would be that we'd see NHL hockey soon: the bad news is that if they owners lose like they ended up doing the last few deals (if they didn't, we wouldn't have lockouts: instead, we'd have strikes), we're going to see another lockout in eight years.
The only language that will need to be settled between players and owners is money. So long as both sides agree that's all it is, then they can start to agree on what everyone is entitled and under what circumstances they're entitled it. So long as everyone stops looking for "the fair deal".
What in the world is a fair deal anyway? What was it October 15 and what is it now? Forgive me, am I being too pragmatic? Fair and pragmatic don't exactly blend, now, do they? Is this dispute about justice? No, it's about money.
I imagine a lot of things have to be settled.
For example, they can ask the players the following questions: how do we negotiate with impossible agents and maintain a competitive team? How do we deal with contracts that are three years too long but that we were forced to sign in order to maintain a competitive team? When three won games vs. three lost games are the difference between a playoff berth and millions of dollars in lost revenue, how can we afford not to give in to player demands when we give them contracts or risk having them hold out on us and costing us a playoff berth?
The players can then ask the owners: If we're scoring 50 goals, why should we make 1 million when someone else who's never done it in his career is making 7? Why is Toronto so profitable and yet the other teams don't profit from Toronto's prosperity if you say that parity is part of what markets the game? Why are the teams making the playoffs the ones that generate all the profit and how come playoff revenue isn't shared?
(I'd share all playoff revenue evenly among all 30 teams until the final 8).
But Fehr, of course, is "considering" cutting him and Bettman out of the process. Of course he is. If the players and the owners make a deal without him, what happens to him?
But it'll end the same way the last one did: the owners will take money from the players' pockets and give them promises. But what we have to consider is that the owners actually make good on the promises (like the 57% revenue), which is why this lockout exists to begin with. Yes, I foresee another deal that starts out good for the owners and ends up good for the players just like this one did.
Goodness, I hope this is resolved before more damage is done. The bridge still hasn't been built, but not everything's been thrown in the ravine, yet. Maybe they can solve the systematic issues 8 years from now.