The two sides met on Thursday, and there still isn’t much good news to report as it’s beginning to look like there may not be hockey this year, at least to begin the season.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman delivered bad news, although he made sure to do so with long-winded answers filled with big words.
“It’s clear that we’re at a point where it’s going to be difficult to move this process along until we deal with the fundamental economic issues, and certainly as it relates to the fundamental economic issue, we are far apart both in terms of magnitude and structure,” he said.
The head of the NHLPA, Donald Fehr, did express at least some optimism on Thursday saying that he still thinks there’s enough time to get a deal done. However, there are no results to show for at this point. Time can move pretty quickly when it comes to labor negotiations, especially if both sides are committed for the long haul.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly knows that, too, and said as much on Wednesday.
“I’m all in favor of spending as much time as possible trying to bridge those gaps,” he told the Canadian Press, according to TSN.
Add it all up, and it doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing hockey any time soon. That doesn’t mean, however, that the season is doomed. We saw how quickly a league can act when it wants to get a deal together last summer, when the NFL and its players were able to save its entire season. The NBA missed time, but they were still able to return for the majority of the schedule, playing 66 of 82 games.
Will the NHL be as fortunate? Everyone has a different opinion at this point. There aren’t many who think that the season will start on time, though. Some think that a two-, to three-month layoff may be in store, with the season perhaps starting on New Year’s Day with the Winter Classic. Then again, there are some who believe it may take even longer.
One thing is for certain, though. The league and the players’ association need to work quickly if we’re going to see hockey — NHL hockey that is — this October.