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Where Do We Go From Here?


Understanding the anatomy of a breakdown as complicated as the one between the NHL and the NHLPA would take the mind of an analytical genius.

From a fan’s point of view, the NHL is slowly killing all hope we have inside of seeing our favorite sport this season. In fact, some fans feel that the league should just call this season a wash and start fresh next season.

It is with this opinion, that my heart is decisively torn in half. Every fiber of my being wants hockey to start tomorrow. My heart wants to get back into my reserved seat at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and watch my Lightning send that puck flying in the net once again.

However…there is another side of my heart that has a much different opinion. The other half of my heart wishes that they would stop chipping away at our hopes and dreams 2 weeks at a time. This part of me wishes that they would just cancel the season and get it over with.

It would seem that both the NHL and the NHLPA are similarly confused.

In a press conference on Thursday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman clearly put the ball in the NHLPA‘s court. In no uncertain terms, he declared that the NHL has made significant moves towards a deal with the players, and that they have drawn their line in the sand.

Here is the video from that press conference courtesy of NHL.com.

According to the Associated Press, On Friday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was at a loss how to get the bargaining process back on track.

"I have no reason, nor any intention, of reaching out to the union right now,” Daly said in an email to the AP. “I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.”"

Who knew that a weekend could change so much? It seems that the NHL and the NHLPA have been in contact in an effort to restart the negotiations that ended with such an epic explosion last week.

"Trying to set up something for this week, but nothing finalized yet,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote Sunday in an email to The Associated Press."

I would like to see the glimmer of hope in this statement, but it is covered in a very dense fog.

As I said before, Bettman, in no uncertain terms, said that the league has drawn its line in the sand. There are certain things that the league “needs” in order for a new CBA to be drafted. He also does not understand why NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr would say that they were “close” to a deal when it is obviously clear that they are not.

On Saturday, after addressing a Canadian Auto Workers council meeting, Fehr remained unmoved.

"My comments from a couple of days ago stand on their own. I think we were very close,”"

It is this sort of indecision and unbending separation of wills that is going to lead to the final nail in the coffin on the 2012-2013 NHL Season.

Unfortunately, the facts are right in front of us. The NHL is in serious danger of losing its second full season in the last 7 years. The last season to be lost, the first time a North American professional sports league had a full campaign wiped out by a labor dispute, was the 2004-2005 season.

Before that, there was the lockout that ended on January 11th, 1995. Nine days later, a season began. This season went until May. Each team played exactly 48 games, and those were exclusive to their own conference.

Gary Bettman has made it clear that there will be no season that is shorter than this.

"When it gets to the point where we can’t play a season with integrity, with a representative schedule, then we’ll be done. If you go back in history, in `94-95 I think we played 48 games. I can’t imagine wanting to play fewer than that.” Bettman said on Thursday. ~ The Huffington Post"

With this in mind, we have just over a month before this threshold is crossed.

Where we go from here remains unknown. Is there still a chance that we will get hockey this season? Yes. However, unlikely it may seem at this stage in the game, nothing is currently impossible. Is it likely that we will get hockey this season? This, I am not so sure of.

I sincerely hope that I am wrong. Hopefully, we will know more by the end of this week.

What is your opinion? Do you think we will still see hockey this season? Do you even still want to see hockey this season? Let us know.