September 12, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHLPA executive director Don Fehr (right) flanked by Vancouver Canucks player Manny Malhotra (to his left) and Winnipeg Jets player Ron Hainsey (to his right) during a press conference at the 2012 NHLPA summer player meetings at the Marriott Marquis. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The NHL and Players’ Association are still far apart on important issues. But they’re close to a deal that will save the season. They are eager to meet, but feel they should take a respite. Both sides are doing their part in negotiations but believe a mediator is necessary to make any progress.
Now the conflicting messages have landed in court. Because they love hockey. Because they want what’s best for the fans.
It’s not too difficult to read between the lines in the NHL CBA drama. The 2012-2013 season is being lost to stubborn stands on principle, hurts of the past, and a whole lot of ego.
This lockout stopped being positive for any reason about a month ago, especially for Chicago Blackhawks fans. First, Jonathan Toews revealed that he is now completely healthy after a concussion prevented him from playing the last quarter of the 2011-2012 season before playoffs. Marian Hossa was also cleared from his injury sustained from Raffi Torres’ illegal hit to the head during last year’s playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes. The young talent harvested by Blackhawks over recent years has also had some time to develop their skills in Rockford. It’s time for many of them to grow at the next level and others to return to the big league.
The excuses offered by the league and players aren’t fooling any of us. We can tell that they just consider other things more important than playing hockey this year.
The season is overdue.
Both sides are quickly wasting away any grace period that fans are still willing to offer. They have so many “Fs” on their record, it’s difficult to imagine how they will ever pass this season. There are no extra credit projects worth enough to make this season worth anything to the fans; all that’s left is the final, and it better be perfect. Forget about an “A”, if the NHL and players association do manage to squeak out any games, it’s only by the grace of the fans that this terrible year will get a pass.
What do you think: What would the NHL have to do to make this season worth watching?