Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/15/12 at 10:58 AM ET
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Know this: It’s too late to declare anybody a winner no matter how this plays out. The buzzer has sounded. Both sides will be declared losers. The long-term damage incurred by this league and industry can’t be undone, at this point. There are corporate partners who might never want to reinvest in a sport that doesn’t play every time a CBA is up. There are fans who promise that they were fooled once, but it won’t happen twice. And there are markets that won’t rebound easily, not for a while, even with a shortened season.
And so at this point all that remains is salvaging what’s left of a chance to play hockey this season and pray that by the second or third season of a new CBA the business will have rebounded to some degree. No guarantee there.
The NHL has informed the NHLPA that talks won’t resume unless/until the players have new ideas or a new proposal to reignite things. Owners don’t want to move an inch at this point. They’re furious that their $211 million "make-whole" offer was rebuffed so easily. Owners, with the hard-liners leading the way, don’t want the league to lift a finger right now on this offer. Of course, similarly, players tell me they’re riled up by the fact the league won’t budge on its list of player contracting demands.
In short, everyone’s angry.
Know this, part 2: NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, as one NHL governor put it to ESPN.com Wednesday, has done a "masterful" job so far in terms of managing this lockout, getting the league to move on key issues such as revenue sharing, and keeping his players on board through it all.
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