Joe Fortunato's personal take on the lockout.
It's a lazy Sunday, so what better than to spend a few minutes musing though some of the topics of the current lockout?
- First of all, I do believe there will be a season. I really do. There's too much at stake and too little distance between the two sides for us to miss an entire year. It wouldn't make any sense. Then again, it doesn't make any sense for us to be where we are right now, but the two sides simply don't have a reason for a season-long lockout right now.
- With that being said, I do think an 82-game schedule is in true peril. Both sides have been talking daily -- and according to reports there have been far more "back room talks" the media and fans aren't aware of -- but that doesn't mean both sides are going to suddenly shrink their egos to get this thing done. The NHL made a major step forward in being the first side to propose 50-50. And while Fehr basically split on the NHL's offer, the NHLPA still acknowledged that a 50-50 split is where the two sides would eventually get to (since that was the final year's share in their offers).
- To be fair, both sides handled the last round of negotiations poorly. The owners shouldn't have walked out of the room on the player's offers and the players should have offered proposals starting with a lower share. The players aren't getting 57% the first two years of the deal. They're not even going to get 57% in the first year of the deal. And they shouldn't. It's far too high, and Fehr has to realize that.
- Both sides deserve blame here, although I will say that I have the biggest issue with Fehr this past weekend. The players didn't budge for an entire month, waiting for the NHL to make a move essentially against itself. That's what the NHL did, and the players responded by spitting on it. Read this column on the CBA negotiations to see both sides' share of the blame. That's pretty much where I stand.
- As for us, and by us I mean Rangers fans, aren't we in such a strange position. You want to be mad at the players, and you want to be mad at the owners. But you can't be mad at James Dolan or the Rangers players. None of the Rangers players have been at the forefront of this lockout (think tweets or comments to the media) and Dolan has pretty much publicly stated he's against the lockout (when he said he "just wants to play hockey"). I do, however, wonder how Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers fans feel during this.
- Another round of good news for us? Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller. Two of the New York Rangers' most prized gems playing in the AHL. The duo was going to be watched very closely regardless (although obviously Kreider was going to be in the NHL) but now the spotlight is right on top of them. Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh are overseas, and all are playing really, really well, but right now the focus is on Miller and Kreider.
- According to reports, November 20th is the deadline for the Winter Classic. Am I the only one who thinks that might be the deadline for the season as well? If the NHL has to cancel the Winter Classic -- the biggest non-playoff event in the sport and one of the difference-makers in terms of growing hockey -- then I think Gary Bettman will smash the season as well. That's his baby, and if he needs to wipe it out, well, there goes hockey in 2013.
- Again, I do think we're going to see hockey this year. I mean, they can't lockout the entire season, right?