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How far are the players willing to take what's rapidly being seen as more and more of a grudge while the owners leverage remains intact?
Two weeks of the NHL's regular season schedule have been cancelled with more on the way unless things change in a hurry. Well over 100 players have now committed to leagues overseas, including Jamie Benn and Tom Wandell, and more will follow.
The league is insistent and its position immovable. The players are fuming.
Scott Burnside at ESPN wonders how long they can keep it up in the face of challenging odds...
It's clear to virtually everyone that the 57 percent of revenues the players bargained into the last CBA turned out to be too much given how the game has grown. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly has acknowledged the owners gave too much last time.
The reality is the owners do shoulder the bulk of the costs when growing the game and, as a result, the owners should have more of the league's revenues.
Whether the final tally is a 50-50 split or within a point or two either way, most observers believe the final deal will be in that neighborhood no matter how many games are forfeited and how much good will goes by the boards.
Do the players in their heart of hearts believe any different?
If so, then why not settle now and see the games played?
Would it be unpalatable to take that first, irrevocable step toward the middle knowing it would feel too much like capitulation? [ESPN]
Read the entire Burnside piece here, as it really captures the blame both sides must accept in this as it drags on.
Fehr will attempt to delay the players from reaching such a conclusion for as long as he can, and thus far it seems he's done a magnificent job of it. The players are united against Gary Bettman in particular, and have sworn to avoid their mistakes last time.
The question is whether or not they have the leverage to force the league's hand. If they do, somehow, then missing a season could be palatable under the banner of sacrificing their own careers and income for future generations. If not, it's money they'll never be able to make up - And pride might get in the way of smarter financial decision making.
- In case you missed it, the Texas Stars defeated the Houston Aeros by a score of 7-2 on Wednesday night to open their preseason. Stephen has a full recap up here at Hundred Degree Hockey. Cody Eakin, Brenden Dillon and Tomas Vincour all scored in the romp. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- Todd over at Pegasus news uses Krys Barch's twitter outburst as inspiration for his Thursday Morning Cupcheck Dallas Stars post this week. Krys Barch fans may want to steer clear. [Pegasus]
- Mac Engel says the cancellation of regular season
gamesschedule is a "serious warning shot" in the negotiations. [FWST]
- Puck Daddy has Don Fehr's reaction to the cancellations: "If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue..." More at [Puck Daddy]
- Mike Heika got a hold of an English translation of an interview Benn gave in Germany. "I want to play games. Life without playing hockey is boring. When my Agent told me that there is a chance to go to Hamburg, i was excited and now I am here." Read the whole thing at the [Dallas Morning News]
- Surf to the 6th entry in this slideshow, and the caption claims Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney took a ride in an air show at Alliance Airport Thursday aboard a "Canadian Snowbirds CT-104". Is taking extraordinarily dangerous stunt rides in aircraft a good way to stick it to the man during a lockout? I kid [FWST]
- Elliotte Friedman on the current lockout conditions: "The players are so angry at the league right now, the process needs a timeout. But, I do believe the biggest problem right now is they both want to test each other a little bit, see if the other side bends at all. That's going to take a little while." How long? [Twitter]
- Never one to shy away from piling on, Tim Cowlishaw not only conjectures that the Stars will not play a game in 2012, he also says Glen Gulutzan is at the bottom of the pile as far as coaches in DFW go. [Dallas Morning News] Hard to argue there, I suppose, given the QOC.
Not a link here, but something emblematic of what's really going on now...
The vitriol towards Gary Bettman among players is really heightened. Said one: "We'll stay united just to knock the smirk off his face." — Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) October 4, 2012
You better believe it, too. The longer this drags out the more it seems it's personal between the players and the commissioner. If Bettman wins this time, and there's little reason to think he won't, he'll likely serve at the owners pleasure for a very, very long time.