Here's the story of the NHL talks to this point. This isn't a synopsis, it's just the current state of affairs -- although it speaks to the insanity of the talks thus far.
As of right now, the two sides have never been closer in terms of dollars and terms, and yet despite that it seems as though they've never been further apart from an agreement.
Go ahead and read that sentence again. It really does speak to the state of the talks right now, along with the state of the talks in general. The two sides have crawled closer and closer over the past couple of months, but to this point there haven't been any truly substantive talks, because if there had been we would probably have a new CBA now.
Yeah, they're that close. Both sides agree they can see the finish and both sides agree that once they hop the first couple of hurtles it will be a sprint to the finish line. But they haven't jumped yet. And they aren't exactly racing to the hurdles, either.
Which brings me to my point: It's time the fans get off the roller coaster. To this point NHL fans have seen more ups and downs than an elevator operator. One day they're meeting, the next they're not. One week there's optimism. The next there's none. One moment it seems as though a new CBA is imminent, the next it seems like there won't be hockey for years.
So why keep going through that time after time? It simply doesn't make sense at this juncture. The two sides are close, really close, actually. They just don't know how to finish things.
Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- agrees that it would be insane for the two sides to miss the entire season. At this stage in the game it just doesn't make any sense. There is no salary cap type issue that would keep the two sides apart for an entire year. But with that being said, it really doesn't make much sense that hockey isn't being played in November, either.
Which reinforces the point. It's impossible to rationalize billionaires and millionaires fighting over a pot full of money. It's impossible to understand the two sides staying off the ice to the point where it's getting dangerous close to impacting the future of the game. If they manage to save a 60+ game season, then you really haven't done any long term damage to the league. But if the season dips to the 40-50-game mark? Who knows.
So sit back and relax. Don't look to deeply into the ups and downs of the negotiations -- seriously, even the experts can't figure it out -- and don't ever try to understand what's going on. The two sides are working on their own schedule.
So hop off the roller coaster. Everyone seems to be in agreement that it would be insane for the two sides to miss the season.
Which, of course, means it seems like a possibility.