NHL Lockout 2013: Talks Hit Expected Snag

Bruce Bennett

The NHL and the NHLPA have hit a snag in their recent talks. This was expected.

So here we are. In all honesty, it was only a matter of time. Here's yet another theme that's been prevalent through this entire lockout: Negativity always breaks through. Always. At no point in these talks has the negativity not broken through the cement floor of positives the media and talking heads have gushed (myself included a few times) at certain points in these negotiations.

So again, this was expected. But that doesn't make it any less dumb. And it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

The two sides are now stuck on three issues (or at least three main issues): Players pensions, salary cap in year two of the CBA and contract lengths. There are reports that other issues have been settled, and other reports that issues previously thought to have been settled have resurfaced. Right now, no one knows what's going on except the people in the room. And even so, I bet not all of them know what's going on.

Which brings us here. Again.

This is the frustrating/tiring/eroding/terrible part of the lockout. The constant downs that come with the precious few ups. I wouldn't read too much into this snag. The snag itself isn't what you should be worried about, it's why there's a snag in the first place. Reports from both the NHLPA and the talking heads indicate that the NHL has reneged on their friendly negotiating stance the second the NHLPA didn't file for desertification.

I don't know if that's true or not. Some reports have suggested that is the case, and if it is the case then the NHLPA has a right to be furious. It's probably why the Union is voting on the right to decertify again. They want to keep the pressure on the owners. But will it work? That remains to be seen.

The two sides are scheduled to meet with mediators at 10 a.m. Friday morning. At this point it's unknown if the two sides will have a full negotiating session or not.

This feels familiar. And despite all of this I still think there will be hockey this year.

That feels familiar too.

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