Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Different Cast of NHL & NHLPA Negotiators. I Still Expect Failure

Today a different set of misfits, I mean NHL and NHLPA negotiators are set to meet to try and find a solution to the stalled negotiations between the two sides. They will try to find a way to see if they can find some common ground to end the NHL lockout. A small group of players and owners will attend the meeting. Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr and their associates will not be in attendance.

Sidney Crosby Signed Picture - 11x14 (James Spence)Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and about 16 other NHL players will be at the meeting. Good luck to them. They will need it. I believe that we will see the same result that other negotiations have yielded; bubkis. I think the only difference between this group and the previous one is that they are different people. I think the values that they hold are the same.

I have very little confidence that anything material or positive will result from this meeting. The hopes of NHL fans have been raised before and I think that fans will see the same result. We can blame Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr for the failed negotiations but the owners and the players call the shots. They are the bosses.

All that these people have done is replace who will be representing the players and the owners today. You're not going to see magic occur just because there are different men at the table. You're not going to see the demands of each side disappear just because there are different men at the table. The men at the table are the men who are responsible for the demands in the first place.

This meeting just allows the culprits to meet face to face so that they can ridicule each other. It allows them to speak face to face but it will yield nothing substantive as far as bridging the gap between the parties. I've seen nothing during this lockout that makes me feel that the NHL or NHLPA is serious about playing hockey this year. I think they are set on having the season cancelled. I don't believe that either side has negotiated in good faith and with the desire to compromise and end the lockout.

I don't see how this meeting will be any different than the others. We've seen that previous meetings have failed. We've seen the disaster of bringing in federal mediators to assist both sides in their negotiations. Some fans were delighted with that development but this pessimist (as far as the lockout is concerned) didn't fall for those shenanigans. I believed those negotiations would fail miserably and quickly. They did. Why should we have any hope now?

I haven't written too many articles about the lockout and NHL recently. I used to write at least three per week. I'm upset with this situation. I'm angry with both sides. I've lost a lot of my interest for NHL hockey. There are other sports to watch.

I actually want to thank the NHL. If it wasn't for the lockout, I would have never watched as many NBA games. The NBA is actually somewhat exciting. I'm missing the NHL less and less with each passing day. That's what the legacy of the NHL is about to become. It will be known for a league that forced its fans to turn away. That's ridiculous. That's inexcusable and that's sad.

This fan believes that the meeting between the owners and players won't last long, it won't go well and it will end with both sides even angrier with each other than they were before. I think that this is the last set of meetings before the NHL officially scraps the season.

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