After labor negotiations blew up last week, followed by less than productive meetings this week it’s hard to find any positive feedback or comments surrounding the NHL lockout. The game we all love is in serious jeopardy of becoming the first professional league to have two full seasons cancelled, forcing us to find other means of entertainment on those cold, lonely winter nights.
But the optimists that do remain there is a sliver of hope that has come out of all places, Europe. You know the place where many NHL stars have gone to continue playing in a competitive environment even if it means playing for much less than their regular North American salary. Yes, Europe brings us some interesting news and for some it’s that tiny piece of hope that a season will be saved for the NHL.
Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy had the article this morning where he reports that Greg Chalmers, an agent in the UK posted on Twitter about his conversations with some of the teams who have NHL stars on their current roster.
Courtesy of Puck Daddy:
“I have been talking to a number of teams on the continent today who have NHL guys on their rosters. It seems that quite a few of them have been told by their NHL agents today, to get ready to return within the next week. One GM told me today that a contact of his in the NHL had advised that they are now looking at 2nd January restart.”
If that doesn’t tighten the chest and make the breathing a little heavier, I don’t know what will. Granted this is simply one report from across the pond and when the talks aren’t happening on our home soil it could be easy to dismiss this type of statement from Chalmers.
But wait, there’s more from the owner of 9 Hockey Management. Wyshynski posted the following quote from Chalmers as a follow up to the above where he further explains the thought process for many of the teams that could be without their star players should the lockout end and play resume in the NHL.
“It seems to be circulating around Europe as I’ve noticed a sudden increase of teams today looking for new imports. A number of European teams have some big holes to fill if the NHL does restart, some have invested heavily. Once the NHL lockout finishes, this is when we’ll see the true effects. Teams may struggle to find the calibre of player they want.”
Interesting to say the least but to play devil’s advocate here, currently the NHL and NHLPA have no talks planned to try and find common ground and work towards a new CBA. On Wednesday they weren’t even in the same meeting room despite six hours of talks with the two U.S federal mediators so it’s understandable to not hold any merit in what Chalmers claims.
He does however state a date of January 2nd as the new start up date, something that is more than plausible. This does hinge on the ability of the owners and player’s union to actually sit down and make progress, something that has been difficult to do up to now, making this just another way to get fans hopes up before having them crash down.