NHL Lockout: Agreeing to Mediation Proves Both Sides Finally Getting Serious

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks to the media at Crowne Plaza Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Finally, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are getting the help that they so desperately need.

It's been confirmed and reported by multiple sources, but we'll turn to former NHL enforcer and current analyst for Canada's Sportsnet, Nick Kypreos, for the glorious news:

#NHL said yes to #NHLPA request to have Federal mediator involved in #CBA talks. Mediator expected to be in next meeting believed to be Wed

— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) November 26, 2012

Or, in layman's terms, courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi:

#NHL and #NHLPA are like your crazy aunt who finally realizes she needs a therapist.

— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) November 26, 2012

This can only be taken as an incredibly positive development in the never-ending stalemate between the two sides.

It's become crystal clear that neither was capable of playing nicely with others in the sandbox that holds the future of the NHL—bringing some adult supervision certainly can't hurt the process.

The fact that the NHL and the NHLPA have finally agreed on something is great news.

That they've both come to the realization that not only what remained of the 2012-13 season—but the future of the league—hung in the balance over the next few weeks is a sign that both sides are finally coming to their senses.

To date, the third work stoppage under the watch of Gary Bettman has cost the NHL more than 400 regular-season games, the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game.

More importantly, it's cost them fans, who are tired of the runaround, fed up with billionaires and millionaires not being able to decide how to divide the billions of dollars that the league generates on a yearly basis.

Because it's hockey fans—not the players, not the owners—who have borne the brunt of the third work stoppage under the "leadership" of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

That the two sides have finally decided to seek another voice to guide them is a step in the right direction.

Let's just hope that all parties involved aren't simply doing this for public approval—and that a deal will be agreed upon, one that brings a shortened NHL Regular Season in 2013 and labor peace for years to come.