The NHL & NHLPA are set to meet again on Wednesday with federal mediators. I believe the same outcome that happened the last time they met with mediators will occur again. While the NHL and NHLPA might move their mouths, nothing of substance will come out of them. We might hear blah, blah, blah but that's all we will hear.
I believe we will end up in the same place as we have been before. I believe that there will be no deal and both sides will blame the other. More tension will occur and the end will be near. I believe that we are at a dead end. Without mediation being binding, there is nothing that is forcing the NHL & NHPA to negotiate in good faith. They are still posturing and trying to out duel the other side.
Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr dislike each other. They are motivated by their mutual dislike and that will force them to try and ensure that their side gets the better deal. I do think Donald Fehr has been doing this more than Gary Bettman lately but both sides are to blame for this lockout lasting as long as it has.
I wonder if these two guys go listen to what they've said in news conferences. NHL fans and those in the media must think that these guys sound like crybabies. I think they do. They should be forced to listen back to what they've said. They should be forced to watch videos of how they've acted. If how they've acted wasn't so pathetic it would be hilarious.
I know I'm being a pessimist again. I believe that I have historical evidence to back up my pessimism and prediction that this round of talks will stall again. I sometimes wonder why these guys even meet any more. I know that some people will say that it takes meeting after meeting to hammer out a deal. That might be true but it also takes compromise and a good faith effort as well.
I believe that staring at each other and repeating the same thing without really trying to hammer out a deal is a waste of time for all parties involved. I know I don't have evidence that this is happening. I'm not in the room with these bunglers. I just wonder how long it will take for these guys to wake up and realize that agreeing to a new CBA is less costly than cancelling games.
I think that the NHL & NHLPA are so entrenched in their positions that they are fighting over pennies while losing millions of dollars per day. It doesn't take a financial genius to figure out that this doesn't make sense. The fight between these two sides is not making financial sense any more.
As I said, these guys are fighting over pennies now. The financial losses are mounting up for both the NHL & NHLPA. The NHL should also face up to the fact that they have alienated a portion of their fan base. No one knows for sure how much of the fan base will be lost but the longer that this nonsense continues the greater the damage will be felt in regards to their fan base.
I'm an NHL fan. That's obvious. I feel alienated and I'm angered by this lockout and its length. Some days I don't feel like writing about the current state of affairs in the NHL. While I do take my days off, I feel a duty to continue to write about the lockout for my readers.
Writing does soothe the pain a little bit. I have to admit that and that's a good thing. I really wish that someday soon I will be able to write a positive story about the NHL. I hope that someday soon I will be able to write a celebratory article.
If Gary Bettman could read this article I would tell him that he is right that the NHL has grown by leaps and bounds under his leadership. I would ask him if he knows how much damage has been done by this lockout and if he knows how many fans will be lost. I would ask him that if the NHL loses a significant number of their fans will it have been worth it to have such a long and acrimonious lockout.