After a long summer and now a couple of weeks of missed hockey, it appears there has been a bit of a breakthrough in the NHL’s labor negotiations.
It seemed as though the NHL was finally getting the message that most fans and close followers of the league were at best clamoring for hockey to return, and at worst fully on the NHLPA’s side. After all, the players were OK with the deal agreed upon just a handful of years ago. Perhaps the League discovered within their focus groups that it was time for the league to buckle.
Whatever the cause, there is a new league issued offer on the table, and the Players seem to be optimistic about it. Well, maybe not optimistic, but receptive. As the hyperlinked ESPN article asserts, the players still seem to feel slighted that this lockout is even an issue. The feeling among the NHLPA is that the NHL still hasn’t indicated a willingness to make concessions, only that they aren’t asking for sacrifices as great as they had from the players.
Obviously, we aren’t there yet. If there was a deal, this would be a much different post. Still, many North American writers, such as those at TSN, and the Miami Herald’s George Richards seem to think the lockout will end before the calendar turns to November. I’m not that optimistic. I hear what the players are saying and understand the sentiment that the owners aren’t being as forthright with themselves and their financial problems as they should be. I think this gives the sides some ground to work with, certainly, but I also believe there is a lot more ground between the two sides to make up.