Last week, the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic, and the
initial fear was it might be only a matter of time before the entire season came
next. Since then, negotiations between the league and players association on a
new collective bargaining agreement have picked back up, with some reports even
predicting a resolution could occur in the next two weeks.
Tim Panaccio has been keeping up on the so-called secret
meetings between representation for owners and union over the weekend, which
are expected to continue into this week. Panotch was willing to describe the
talks as progress, while others are digging much deeper in their inferences to
the meaning and potential details of these discussions.
In the video above, Al Morganti views the silence
surrounding exactly what is being discussed at these meetings as a positive,
and goes so far as to say he believes the lockout could be over in 10 days – or
not at all. His sense is talks finally have a purpose, so if both sides are
going to cut to the heart of the issues, now is the time.
Frank Seravalli for the Daily News seems to be on the same
page as Morganti. In his Monday article, Seravalli agrees on a similar timeline
of agreement being possible “in the next 10 to 15 days,” and specifically
mentions a 64-game season as a possibility. It should be noted that’s similar
to the 66-game slate the NBA went with after its own lockout-shortened campaign
a year ago.
At this point, it’s all speculation, but speculation is
better than the hopeless feeling another season could be lost. If the players
and owners really do somehow manage to bridge their differences in the next two
weeks or so, not only could they save some face, but probably the sport along
Morganti is probably right though. If this situation isn’t
any closer to being figured out in the very near future, with the Classic gone
and precious little time to organize a season, then what is left to keep the
dispute from dragging on? We’re not out of the woods yet, but if either side is
committed to playing NHL hockey within the next couple months, something has
got to give soon.
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