At the stroke of midnight on Dec. 15, the NHL lockout entered its 90th day of existence. The lockout has now gone on longer than some stores’ return policies and shows no signs of stopping–especially as the league gets litigious and the NHLPA considers decertification.
Just as many fans feel they are unwilling riders of an emotional roller coaster brought on by the up-and-down nature of lockout negotiations, so does Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. He’s been keeping busy playing in the KHL, but back in September, he hoped the lockout would be short. Obviously, his hopes have been dashed.
“It’s at a point where I’m not getting frustrated or excited [by negotiation news] anymore. I’m just waiting for a final decision,” he said. “Every time I got excited, the next day I got frustrated when [talks] were moved back. The same thing the other way when you got different news. You stay positive and you get some good news. Then…boom…two days later you’d get bad news.”
The wildly swinging nature of negotiations was at its worst earlier this month, when many people thought a resolution was in sight before talks broke down in a fiery rain of anger, disappointment, rejection and doom-saying on Dec. 6. At that time, commissioner Gary Bettman said he felt like he was on an emotional roller coaster. Chara piggy-backed off that concept.
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions where you have ups and downs. I find myself in a position where I want to stay neutral and see whether it’s going to get done or not,” he said.
Chara’s approach is a wise one. I know I’m personally tired of daring to hope that something good might happen, only to be brought crashing down to earth again when something goes wrong–and let’s be real here: something always goes wrong.
Meanwhile in the KHL–Chara will return to the ice with his HC Lev Praha teammates on Dec. 21–as the league prepares for their upcoming 2013 All-Star Game, they have released their two starting lineups. For the Western Conference, five of the six positions are occupied by NHL players. Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk are the forwards, Semyon Varlamov is the goalie and one of the defensemen is none other than Chara. The Eastern starting lineup features three NHLers: Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Should the NHL doors reopen before the KHL All-Star Game, their starting lineups will experience a sea change as the next highest vote-getters for each position take over the slots.