Article written by Sportmentary - Editor in Chief Sportmentary.com
I've been extremely pessimistic during the NHL lockout. With each round of talks I've cautioned my visitors to expect the worst. This has been true with the current set of negotiations but something changed. I don't know what it is.
Something is telling me that we're nearing the end of this debacle. I have guarded optimism that the NHL lockout is nearing its end. I think that both the NHL & NHLPA have come to the realization that they have to have some sort of season, even if it's only a 48 game season.
I think that Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman know that they need to strike a deal soon. Time is running out on them. The time for gamesmanship has run out on them. It's time for them to put their cards on the table and hammer out a deal.
While the deadline for a deal to be reached is January 11th, I think that the real deadline is this week. If a deal isn't struck by the end of this week, it probably won't be by the 11th. Making things even more urgent for a deal to be struck is the Wednesday deadline for the NHLPA to file its disclaimer of interest and allow the union to disband.
If the NHL were to call the players bluff and allow the deadline to come on Wednesday the players would have to make a critical decision. So the real deadline might actually be January 1st. we'll see what happens.
The NHL is set to respond to the NHLPA's latest counter offer on Tuesday. The tone and substance of their response will tell us a lot about what to expect in the final days of this lockout. I think both sides realize that they need tread softly.
Both sides aren't sharing too much and are remaining silent about the details of what has been discussed in the past couple of days. That's a good thing. As a fan I can only hope that we're nearing the end to this mess. As a fan I can only hope that being optimistic will not burn me.
I hope that in the next few days I'm writing about good news and an end to this lockout and not foaming at the bit about my anger at another disastrous and ridiculous failure. I've become too accustomed to failed negotiations. It's time for us to see some success. The NHL & NHLPA have to be capable of that, don't they?