Lockout beard? (Photo: Getty Images)

If you're a hockey fan, you're clearly aware that there's very little optimism about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on or prior to September 15th. 

Now, someone who has been very involved in the negotiation process is considering his options if a conclusion isn't soon reached.

According to Teemu H (@EuroFlyers), recently extended Flyers Forward Scott Hartnell has reportedly contacted the General Manager of Kalpa, a professional hockey team based out of Finland playing in the SM-liiga:


CB Reader Nick Graff (@DXFlyers) also mentions that Hartnell is part-owner of Kalpa, along with Sami Kapanen and Kimmo Timonen. (Kapanen is the majority owner, with Timonen and Hartnell owning much smaller stakes of the team… at least that's what Wikipedia is telling me.)

Now, this isn't new, right? We've heard about plenty of guys considering their options in the event of a lockout, including Evgeni Malkin. What makes this specifically discouraging is that we're talking about Hartnell now, a guy who has involved himself in these talks more proactively than most. If he's taking a look at his options elsewhere, what does that say to us, the fans, about the possibility of a new CBA?

The NHL and the Players Association go back to the table once again today to attempt to move things forward, but from the outside looking in, the effort to do so seems lacking at best. I guess you can expect that when Gary Bettman and the owners want to roll back salaries 24 fucking percent, and want to take reduce the NHLPA's take to 43%, down from 57%.

It's not like you haven't heard all of this, but it's hard to understand where the owners are coming from when the NHL has grown to a $3 billion industry. It sure doesn't hurt them knowing that they get $200 million from NBC regardless of a lockout. The players will see none of that.

Add that on to the fact that owners are calling for five-year max deals when things like this, this, this, and this happened in the past two months, and you have an initative from the owners laced in hypocrisy.

There are quite a few folks who break this down far better than I have, including those who have defended the owners and even Gary Bettman, but all that really matters to us is that the current CBA expires in 18 days, and the lack of news on prgoress combined with rumblings of players (like Scott Hartnell) exploring other options doesn't lead to any optimism.

This shit is going to ruin my season ticket plan.

You can follow Ryan Gillon on Twitter @SeriouslyRyan.