It "started" with a seemingly bogus report from CBS 4's Steve Burton in Boston:
— WBZ Boston Sports (@wbzsports) December 3, 2012
Despite Bill Daly refuting the report rather quickly, here we sit two days later with assorted shreds of optimism that the NHL Lockout may be coming to an end.
Whether or not Burton truly has the inside track regarding the progression of talks is beyond me, but I'm not really here to delve into it either. The possibility exists that we may see NHL hockey before Christmas, and that's what matters.
Having said that, as you check your Twitter feed and watch the combined 44 seconds of ESPN SportsCenter coverage tomorrow during their six live hours of Tebow/RG III bullshit, remember that the lockout isn't over… yet.
Part of me is asking where the this effort was in September when the CBA was about to expire. I also wonder why Gary Bettman and the owners opened negotiations with such a lowball offer sending pessimism running through the veins of the hockey community. And then I read this piece from the Edmonton Journal's David Staples, pointing to a strategy reportedly executed by the NHL during negotiations:
“Apparently Gary is ready to get a deal done,” [Nick] Kypreos said. “He wants this thing done Friday. Friday!”
On Sportsnet’s Hockey Central show, Kypreos debated the issues withtwo other NHL insiders, former NHL GM Doug MacLean and sportscaster Daren Millard.
MacLean said that six weeks ago, he heard the NHL’s position, that “it is knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out until December 1st, and then at December 1st we’re getting a deal done.”
Fucking terrific. It was absolutely worth losing three months of hockey and thousands and thousands of fans. That's not even considering the cash cow that is the Winter Classic. All-Star Weekend in Columbus is also a goner, but hey, it's December 1st, the NHL is ready to negotiate!
Ironic is the fact that the most progress has been made without Bettman and the NHL Players Association's Donald Fehr. In addition to 18 current players and six of the league's owners, the aformentioned Daly sat in for the NHL while Donald's brother Steve represented the players. The move could prove to be a blessing considering the widespread resentment that the players have for Bettman.
What may be the most painfully odd factor for Flyers fans in all of this is the reported impact that Pittsburgh Penguins dickbag Sidney Crosby is having in all of this. He and Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle flew into New York City together, were present in yesterday's meetings that lasted more than eight hours, and are both participating in tonight's activities.
Rob Rossi of the Pittburgh Tribune-Review even went as far to write that "Burkle and Crosby were described by participants in the five-hour talks as voices of reason.
So, where are we? Well…
The Players Association delivered an offer to the owners this afternoon, and the owners came back with a counter quickly. What's different about these proposals is that we actually know nothing about them. Nothing has leaked or been made public by either side. Although we're obviously curious, the lack of information available to us is probably a good thing and means that both sides are taking this latest round of negotiations seriously.
Meanwhile, Tim Panaccio is reporting the Board of Governors discussed a season that would feature anywhere from 50 to 60 games if the lockout ends. Ren Lavoie of RDS in Canada mentioned this:
NHL talked yesterday about the possibility of having a 10 year deal for the next CBA.
— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) December 5, 2012
So, if you've been paying attention, that would mean the NHL's next lockout will begin in September 2023.
As of this writing, the owners have just left the negotiating room, and there is no indication if talks have finished for the night or if they will continue. The NHL has set up a podium in the past hour, so we are expecting some sort of announcement, but there's no guarantee it's coming anytime soon.
You can follow Ryan Gillon on Twitter @RyanGillon47