With yet another meeting between the NHL owners and NHL Players Association ending with little progress and no Collective Bargaining Agreement, the hope of even a partial season in 2012-2013 is fading fast.
The NHL schedule has already undergone drastic changes because of cancelled games, and the lack of compromise from either side proves that there is no intention of a resolution anytime soon.
Add in Donald Fehr and his history with lockouts in Major League Baseball (h/t Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post), and the likelihood that the NHL or NHLPA are even trying to save the season has become very cloudy.
While a lost season continues to loom, the owners, led by commissioner Gary Bettman, continue to give the media the same song and dance. Bettman spoke outside the New York offices, where the Wednesday CBA negotiations took place (h/t ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun):
I think it's frustrating for everybody and disappointing for everybody that's it's taken this long and we're still far apart.
We're dealing with a union that really isn't trying to negotiate, make any deal that we can live with for the long-term health of this game. We're hoping that with the passage of time, the players' association will come to realize that what we have proposed has been more than fair.
And the fact that we're keeping this proposal on the table, when it was contingent on an 82-game season, should be evidence of our desire to get this done the right way.
While both sides have used the media to express their distaste for the negotiations and how they were being handled, the fact that the public-relations war has been the top priority for the NHL and NHLPA proves that neither side is offering real compromise.
As long as the sides continue to posture for an extended battle, no compromises can be made and no deal can be reached. Unless something changes fast, there will be no 2012-2013 season.
There is still time to save a partial season, but the lack of progress so far in the negotiating process dulls the chances of the compromises that must be made by both sides before an agreement can be reached.
If the NHL and NHLPA can’t make a deal on a new CBA and the season is eventually cancelled, this is will be a huge blow to a sport that continues to alienate its fans.
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