Nov 21, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers questions during a press conference to introduce the new owner of the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Closing 2012 With Optimism

As 2012 draws to a close, we still don’t have hockey, but we can afford a bit of guarded optimism about having hockey early in 2013.  Earlier today we held our collective breaths while Gary Bettman emerged from talks with the NHLPA to address the media – the history of these negotiations has conditioned us to expect the worst in moments like these.  Instead, Bettman maintained his fair complexion (as opposed to the warm rouge he was sporting on December 6), and restrained himself from any barbs aimed at the NHLPA, and was, perhaps shockingly, cordial.


This morning, the NHLPA offered the NHL a counter-proposal to the proposal made late last week by the NHL.  And more than anything in either of the actual proposals, it’s the demeanor of the respective party heads that cues us that perhaps, finally, it’s safe to be optimistic.  It’s also safe to assume that we are finally, finally, finally out of the posturing stage of this fiasco and down to the actual negotiating.


Of course, fans are, and should be, furious that it’s taken till now to get to this point.  Could we not have reached a similar deal than the one we’re inevitably heading toward back in October?  Or did we really need to watch both sides push each other to the brink, waiting to see which would crack?  Now that the brink has been arrived at, and we’re looking over the edge, it’s getting obvious that neither side is all that interested in taking the plunge.  In other words, sanity has  taken hold.   Hey – there’s even some talk that if an agreement is reached soon enough, we could get 52 games rather than 48.


But if there’s one thing to take some comfort in, hockey fans, it’s that tonight, while the rest of us are surrounded by family and friends, Gary Bettman will be locked in a boardroom surrounded by lawyers, looking over the NHLPA’s proposal.  And perhaps it’ll cross his mind that this could have been avoided had he gotten the deal done in October.

  • Peter Gilson

    Had season tickets for years before the last lockout.. Was the first person to have the “ice box” seats, several suites, tickets for gifts, I was Ryan’s (my acc rep) go to guy anytime he needed a sale..
    The last lockout pushed me away somewhat (In 02/03 and 03/04 I commuted from VERO BEACH to the games) as far as season tickets, suites, etc but I still went opening day, and a couple others.
    I was impressed with what Vinik had done and came back more and more last year and year before. I was ALMOST ready to come back full time now that I live in Orlando and that I was feeling the itch so to speak..
    Then this fiasco.
    I’m done. I don’t think I’ll ever come back. Disgusted with all of it, both sides.
    And that’s sad, but that’s what Mr. Vinik, his co owners in the league, and the players, all of them are accountable, and all of them have now driven me from the game I grew up loving in several markets.
    You’ve lost me NHL.

    • Hula Doll Reynolds-Dolce

      I’m not blaming Mr. Vinik at all. He’ still focused on the community and the team. He’s keeping up with the community heroes program and doing many things to help keep the fans engaged. Most teams aren’t even reaching out to the fans like the Lightning are. Even many of the players have been quoted saying that they don’t blame him. You are entitled to your opinion, and I thank you for commenting! Please don’t take this as me arguing with you.