NHL Lockout 2012: Emotional roller coaster continues as NHL MIGHT cancel Winter Classic Friday

Patrick McDermott

Will the NHL cancel the Winter Classic Friday? Will the NHL wait a few weeks? Are the two sides actually making progress? We hash through all the rumors. Or, we try to, at least.

Found power again, after another quick trip to Quinnipiac University to warm up and flick switches that actually turn on lights. Makes you appreciate the little things, for sure.

Anyway, while we're appreciating little things, it's time to appreciate the time we have left between now and the inevitable date in which the NHL cancels the Winter Classic. Or will they? Honestly the reports going around have been all contradicting one another, and this story on the SB Nation NHL hub sums it up pretty well.

So basically there are reports that the NHL will be taking out the Winter Classic Friday, reports that they won't be canceling it for another two weeks and reports that the two sides are going to meet again soon (potentially Saturday) after positive talks the past two days.

Which report is correct? Well, I guess we'll find out soon, now won't we.

The reasoning behind the NHL canceling the Winter Classic is simple. It has two driving forces behind it, both of them reasonable, but not really reasonable enough to remove the signature event of the sport's regular season. The first reason is the money the NHL would have to give to the University of Michigan to secure the use of their football field (or The Big House) for the event. It's been reported that the NHL would have to give another $250K to the school today, followed by a much, much bigger payment later. Reports have surfaced that it might only be $100K today, but you get the point. A lot of money has to be thrown at this event to make it happen.

The second reason is a little more complex. The owners and Gary Bettman don't want the NHLPA and Donald Fehr to be able to use the event as leverage in the negotiations. Which sort of makes sense. If the NHL keeps on giving the deposits for the use of the field that's even more money the NHL would have essentially thrown away if no deal is reached, which puts pressure on the owners to make a deal to save the game.

Granted, those dollar figures are minuscule when compared to the actual figures the two sides are fighting about, but the point remains the same. Especially when both side is refusing to give any ground in this not-important-at-all PR war they're currently waging.

If the reports of the NHL canceling the Winter Classic are true, we'll see it happen sometime Friday afternoon. If the reports aren't true, then the Winter Classic will remain in place through the weekend and beyond.

Either way, the two sides are apparently expected to meet this weekend or early next week, but it remains to be seen how canceling the Winter Classic would impact those negotiations. The two sides are already at each other's throats as it is, and removing the Classic would only seem to make things that much worse.

Again, we'll find out for ourselves what is and what isn't true.

What I can tell you is this: If the NHL and the NHLPA did have substantive talks the past coupe of days, maybe the NHL doesn't destroy the Winter Classic just yet. Maybe they pay the $250K (which is reportedly due today), and try to find some type of a deal between now and the next payment.

What's the truth? Well, I guess we'll know soon.

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