NHL Lockout 2012: Players Must Accept Latest Offer from Owners and End Insanity

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With a new offer in hand from ownership, the  NHL Players' Association finds itself in a position to end the NHL Lockout.

After 104 days, 646 canceled regular-season games (not including the Winter Classic, which would have been played next week) and the cancellation of the NHL All-Star Game, the Players' Association must bring an end to the insanity.

Multiple sources, including Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, are reporting that a new offer—one that has significant movement on some issues from ownership—has in fact been made and received by the Players' Association (via Twitter):

An NHL player says the NHL made a new offer to the NHLPA on Thursday, one which moved on contract term limits, buyouts and variance...

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012

LeBrun breaks down the new offer here, but there are really only two things that the NHLPA might take issue with in the new offer (via Twitter):

New offer sees each team afforded one compliance buyout prior to 2013-14 season. Doesn't count vs. cap but it does vs. players' share

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012

Player says new league offer still calls for salary cap to be $60 M for 2013-14 season, which could be an issue (escrow).

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012

It's understandable why the players might take issue with those two things, seeing as how it impacts their bottom line.

I'd never begrudge anyone, in any profession, from making money. While some of us love our jobs, at the end of the day, the numbers on your paycheck mean something more than the love of the job, more than the love of the game.

I get it.

At some point, though, the minimal gains that could be achieved by continuing to haggle over percentage points and a million dollars here, a million dollars there—when compared to the big picture—isn't worth dragging the second NHL work stoppage in the past eight years on for much longer.

Granted, there's quite a bit for the NHLPA to digest in this new offer, a point that wasn't lost on LeBrun (via Twitter): 

At this point there is no scheduled meeting between both sides set for today. NHLPA needs time to review lengthy and detailed offer from NHL

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 28, 2012

While that review is going on, the NHLPA must remember that the owners did move on a number of key issues, and that there may not be another offer after this.

Someone needs to stop the insanity, end the lockout, get back on the ice, and save the sport.

That puck is firmly on the tape of the NHLPA's mighty stick.

Like any good sniper, it's time for the players to put the biscuit in the basket.

Missing the net on this one isn't an option, and doing so makes the players just as culpable as the owners in this whole mess.

Nobody wins when that happens.