NHL Lockout: Talks to Resume Next Week; Is it Time for Optimism Yet?

By Steve Palumbo
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

I guess they don’t make two-weeks breaks like they used to. Just days after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suggested the two sides take some time apart to see other people, the NHL and the locked-out players’ association have decided reconvene on Monday.

It is believed that the conversations between NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr on Friday conjured up enough warm and fuzzy feelings to prompt the sides to set up another face-to-face meeting next week. Hopefully, this time the two sides will create enough good will that NHL fans might actually have something to be thankful for as they stuff their faces silly with turkey and pie on Thursday.

Owners and players failed to make any progress in meeting last week in New York, even ending one session with a heated argument. But, the fact that they want to continue to talk is a good sign, if not encouraging. I’m starting to believe there may be light at the end of the NHL Lockout tunnel. Some talks are better than no talks and at this point even the smallest pebble will pick up speed if pushed down the right hill.

Many players harshly criticized Bettman for suggesting a break in the talks at all. New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan summed it beautifully when he said, “It doesn’t make sense to me.” My sentiments exactly Mr. Callahan. It sounds to me like the players are ready to get this wrapped up so they can get back to work. Missing a paycheck must be starting to soften the players stance.

The sides must put their differences aside for the betterment of the sport and its fans. It has been 63 days and nearly a third of the seasons games have been lost. I have tried to keep a positive outlook through this entire process but the fact is that even fans like me are on their last nerve. If talks are going to continue a deal cannot be far behind – right? That’s how negotiations are supposed to work – right? Let’s hope the NHL sees it that way so we can focus on more important things – like Black Friday and Christmas Music.

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