CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 16: A locked gate is seen outside the the United Center, home of the NHL team the Chicago Blackhawks, February 16, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The 2004-2005 National Hockey League season has been canceled due do to the owners and players failing to reach a labor agreement. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
The deadline for the new CBA is on Saturday. THIS Saturday. It seems like we've been talking about it forever even though it's only been a day short of eternity. You can find different takes of the situation all over the interwebs. Just do a search on Google for "NHL lockout" and you get article titles like "NHL Lockout Looms" and "NHL Lockout Seems All but Certain". You get articles that support the players (a vast majority, actually) and those that focus on the fans. Some suggest not all NHL hockey will be lost even in midst of a lockout while others tell it like it is.
No matter from which angle you view the lockout, the same image keeps coming back: an empty arena. But if you're like me, you also see the board room table where the NHLPA and NHL are supposedly talking about all of this. We all know that the owners dropped the gauntlet early with a ridiculous offer that they had to know wouldn't get anywhere. The players association came back, not with a counter proposal, but with an entirely new way to look at the CBA. The answer was a "concession" by the owners that didn't take into account anything the NHLPA said and really didn't offer any ground. In essence, it was, "Okay, so we wanted three queens, but now we're only asking for three jacks." Same idea with just a different face.
Now things are taking an interesting turn. Friday's informal meetings created some optimism in the media, with fans and even with players. However, the fact talks didn't resume again put a damper on that feeling. Now, some of the players are taking matters into their own hands. The Montreal Canadiens players, along with players from the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, have hired a lawyer, claiming that it "would be unlawful for the players to be locked out because the NHLPA isn't certified by the Quebec Labor Board. Under Quebec law, a union must have that certification for an employer to enact a lockout."
The NHL did give a tiny bit when they agreed to a deal regarding waivers during this time of flux. "To put it simply, a player currently signed to a two-way contract can play hockey with their farm team, as long as he assigned there by September 15th. In October, the parent club has up to three days before the season starts to bring that player back without having to put him on re-entry waivers."
Does any of this mean we'll be able to gather at Family Sports Center in 10 days to watch the Battle for the Blueline and Whose Top Line is it Anyway?
Will there be a lockout in the 2012-2013 season?
No, an agreement will be reached by or on September 15, 2012 (22 votes)
Yes, but it will be over before the regular season is scheduled to start on October 11, 2012 (53 votes)
Yes, but it will end sometime before December 31, 2012 (177 votes)
Yes, but it will end between January 1, 2013, and February 28, 2013 (22 votes)
Yes, and it will take the entire season away just like last time (70 votes)
344 total votes