If this lockout has taught us anything, it’s that during a time of such uncertainty, there really isn’t a whole lot of value to “inside information”.
As high up as Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman, there is still a sense of unknown to how this process is going to play out. While you can be sure both sides know what their next move is, neither can really say for certain how the other side will react and when we’ll ultimately reach a resolution.
Even the best in the business, guys like Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, have been left scratching their heads at times wondering what the end game is in this process. That’s what makes this lockout so ridiculous. Nobody knows how it’s going to end or why such a ferocious battle is being fought.
With that in mind, I have been provided information along the way that gives you a sense of what is happening behind the scenes, and how the respective parties “think” (or thought) this process will play out. In some instances, you can see just how wrong they were.
From the beginning, a key contact and quality source suggested that the NHL would be back in action by mid-November. The thinking there was that games would have to be canceled, but ultimately cooler heads would prevail and we could start the season a month later than usual. Considering the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of November, and no meetings are scheduled, I think we can rule this one out.
From a contact on the NHLPA side of things, I get the sense they may have underestimated the hard-line stance of the owners a little bit. Apparently some within the Union, as recently as a month ago, felt as though it was only a matter of time before the owners felt the pinch from key sponsors and were forced to significantly back off their demands. Essentially there were people within the union that felt like this was a battle they could win.
Considering where things currently stand, I certainly can’t imagine a scenario where the NHLPA wins.
From connections with links to key league sponsors, the thinking was hockey would be back in December. The first couple months of the season would be wiped out but ultimately an agreement would be reached and a shortened season would get underway. Not ideal, but better than losing a full season.
We can’t rule this one out yet but obviously, time is running out.
What the above shows you is that on all sides of this process, we are entering uncharted waters. While those directly involved realized that losing an entire season was a possibility, I don’t think anyone honestly believed it would come to this.
According to a tweet from Chris Botta, the next move is to cancel games up until December 15th and a full season cancelation would not be far behind.
The clock is ticking on the 2012/2013 campaign and fans across the league are losing patience. Some may argue that the damage is already done but losing an entire season would place this ridiculousness on another level.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.