It was the announcement that everyone knew was coming when the NHL revealed Friday that they had cancelled all regular season games through December 14. The league also officially cancelled the All-Star game that was slated to be hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets. To date the league has now cancelled 422 regular season games thanks to the latest 96 that were wiped off the slate on Friday which is roughly 34% of the regular season schedule. Talk about a black Friday indeed.
But who’s to blame for another two week block of games being cancelled? Is it the league and it’s owners who refuse to budge on their stance of what a new CBA should look like? Or is it the players and their union who, to some want a ridiculous amount of money when it comes to their idea of a new CBA offer.
How about both are to blame. Given we are now on the verge of losing the entire season because neither side is willing to concede enough in order to get negotiations truly on track, it’s hard to buy all the reports that both sides feel for the fans. We also continue to hear both sides state that they feel for the fans, when no progress is being made.
I’m not saying the players need to take a deal that is not in their best interest. I’m also not stating that the owners need to give in to all of the players demands. But surely they can both give a little more than what they have been in order to save some what of a season.
There is speculation that if the season could miraculously start by the middle of December 15, all teams could fit in a 60-game schedule that would see all games be within their respective conferences according to TSN who quotes a source close to the situation. But even that is now becoming suspect given the two sides are miles apart and currently have no talks scheduled.
With every passing day that results in no progress between the NHL and NHLPA, hope further slides towards sorrow and the empty hole that was once occupied by the NHL only grows deeper.
As we sit around trying to find any touch of optimism to hold on to, we continue to try and place blame on one side or the other. The players look like they’re giving in to the owners by negotiating off the owners “make whole” provision, claiming this is the best offer they can make. But we’ve heard that before and now with dissension building within the players association there could be a crack in the armor.
Then there is the owners who say they can no longer give the players what they offered earlier because an 82-game schedule is no long possible. Another form of being stubborn that is costing us another two weeks of potential game action.
And then there is the poor franchise known as the Columbus Blue Jackets. They just traded away their cornerstone, franchise player in Rick Nash and now they have the one thing they had going for them ripped out of their almost lifeless hands. I wonder how the Jackets owner feels towards Gary Bettman now?
Where do we go from here? That’s anyone’s guess including Mr. Bettman and Mr. Fehr. If they can’t seem to figure things out, does that leave any hope for the NHL?
Both sides are to blame and it’s going to take both sides to make it right.
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