After all the progress that had been made over the last several days, it came as a blow to many people when talks seemingly broke down again yesterday. The worst part of it is that everyone knows how close they are to finally having a deal done. The fans know it. The media knows it. The players know it. The owners know it.
So why are both sides still making demands and ultimatums when they appear to nearly be there? Your guess is as good as mine. With only 7 days to go until the official drop dead date, they can't possibly lose an entire season over the few items left to discuss. Yet both sides are still playing the "I'm completely outraged and I'm about to walk out" card, in order to fight for every last inch that remains to be negotiated. And it's driving some people over the edge.
Over at ESPN, Pierre LeBrun is labeling this whole mess as "The most embarrassing work stoppage in the history of pro sports." I doubt anyone disagrees with him, either.
The most frustrating thing are the continual delays in negotiating, and playing a waiting game instead of working together and get it done. LeBrun breaks down the most recent debacle:
OK, it turns out the players and their leader, Don Fehr, were in foul mood after they discovered the league might have tried to pull as fast one on HRR language in last week's offer. Did I say last week’s offer? Yes, I did. Did it really take a week for the union’s lawyers to find the HRR treachery? I don’t have a law degree and I’m sure these things are complicated, but if I’m a player I’m just as angry at the league for trying to pull a fast one as much as wanting to know why it took a week for my people to figure it out.
I wonder how much hockey we would have had this season if both sides had started working on this right away, instead of both sides trying to use delay tactics. Something tells me the number of games would have been around 82 a piece. Especially when the agreement they are coming to sounds like the middle of the road agreement we all knew would be coming to begin with.
Coming up in the links: Bettman and Fehr are both ready to cancel the season, some details about the agreements that have been reached so far between the sides, and a look at the medal rounds for the WJC.
- The Players' Association has begun another vote to disclaim interest. If they actually disclaim this time, it will result in an antitrust lawsuit, and likely mean no games will be played at all this season. [ESPN]
- Well, if one side threatens to cancel the season, it's only fair that the other side says they'll do it too. And it looks like Bettman wants to cancel it before the PA gets their chance. [Puckdaddy]
- Despite all of the negativity out there today, I still feel like this is all a chess game being played, in order for both sides to get the most of what's left. [NJ Star-Ledger]
- One of the issues being discussed is the cap variance, that would help to keep teams from circumventing the cap with ludicrous contracts. Based on these numbers though, it looks like they aren't really fixing the issue. [Globe And Mail]
- On to more cheerful news (If you're not Canadian), the US team defeated Canada and advanced to the gold medal round of the World Juniors. Todd Maternowski decided to keep a diary as that game progressed in the wee hours of the morning. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- Most people seem to be in agreement that Canada's loss to the US was the fault of the entire team, and not just one player. Just to be safe, though, they won't be playing their #1 goalie for the bronze medal match against Russia. [TSN/TSN]
- Here's a great breakdown of the first goal the US scored against Canada the other night. When screenshot labeling goes from players' names to "humans," you know the defense is doing something wrong. [TheScore]
- The Gold Medal match-up between the US and Sweden will be a good one for Dallas fans to watch. On the US side is Plano born Seth Jones. For team Sweden, Stars prospect Emil Molin will be trying to get the win. Make sure you tune in Saturday morning at 7AM to watch! [DallasNews]