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Bantering Points: NHL CBA Negotiations, Hard Deadlines, USA Hockey And Shane Doan

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25:  Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, speaks to start the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, speaks to start the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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- So Gary Bettman dropped the bomb Thursday, announcing that there will be a lockout if a new CBA deal isn't reached by September 15th. That sounds like a major stand by the NHL, but in reality that was expected. There was no way the NHL was going to allow the NHLPA to play under the current CBA for a year, even if the players were willing to do it.

- I'm also not concerned about the NHLPA not making an official counter offer as of yet. It makes me believe that the group is taking their time, learning everything they need to know with the NHL's first proposal, seeing what they key differences are and coming up with a plan both sides can actually work off of. That's a very optimistic view of the situation, I realize, but the NHLPA has taken their time here.

Join me after the jump for more.

- Look, the reality of the situation is that there's no way both sides don't know the magnitude of the situation. The NHL is coming off a very productive year and both sides know what's at stake here. I just can't see them locking out. I think there's a ton of Internet-based fears that the NHLPA hasn't extended an offer yet, but I'm not too concerned right now. Again, this is an optimistic view of the situation.

- Let's move on to something better to talk about. The New York Rangers prospects! J.T. Miller had a good game in the United States destruction of Sweden Thursday. Miller had a goal and an assist in the 10-2 win (yeah, that's not a typo, 10-2) and has really started using his size, frame and vision to his advantage.

- I would say that before the summer started the hands down favorite to make a big splash out of camp (at least for forwards) would have been Christian Thomas. But Miller is having himself a hell of a summer so far with World Juniors tryouts and might be a candidate to surprise a few people this pre-season. Remember, Miller's plan was a year of juniors before going pro. Remember that he's a really well rounded prospect. He was polished last year when the team drafted him. A year of juniors helped season his game.

- It looks like the Phoenix Coyotes might have officially found a buyer. That means that Shane Doan is probably returning to Phoenix. To me, this is a good thing. Doan would have made the Rangers deeper, but I didn't like the cost or the years. Have I mentioned Jason Arnott as an option yet?