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Daily Cupcakes - Links from around the locked out NHL - October 9th, 2012


S. Gauthier

Allan Walsh is a player agent who tweets a lot.

"It’s clear to most people that the NHL has been planning this lockout for a long time. It’s clear, with the way the NBC deal was negotiated and the $200 million payment whether games are played or not, that the NHL has been laying the groundwork for this lockout for a significant period of time. Based on the best offer on the table before Sept. 15, it’s clear the NHL never made a serious attempt to make a deal before declaring a lockout," Walsh says. "The powers that be in the NHL feel they will get a much better deal from the players once the players are softened up and locked out over a period of time. And there was no serious interest on the league’s side to make a deal."

How will it end?

"I have no idea," he says.

It’s here that Walsh points out that when he tweets or speaks, he’s not doing so in the name of his players or the players’ union. He’s giving his opinion, sharing what he feels is pertinent information. He says that, judging from the responses he gets on Twitter, some fans erroneously consider him a spokesman for the NHLPA.

Are there a few teams that are pushing for the lockout to end?

While commissioner Gary Bettman maintains he has the support of all 30 teams in this battle with the NHL Players' Association, not everybody is convinced it will stay that way with two weeks of the regular season already toast.

Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly showed up on the NHLPA's doorstep Friday for a private meeting out of the spotlight with executive director Donald Fehr and his brother Steve Fehr, who is acting as special counsel in negotiations.

The belief is not everybody on the NHL's board of governors is happy the league is in the midst of its third lockout in 20 years -- all with Bettman at the helm -- and he's getting some heat to try to find a solution.

The new book about Bettman paints a grim picture.

Any optimism I had regarding an early settlement to the National Hockey League lockout went out the window when I read The Instigator, a riveting and well-researched portrait of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman by Maclean's senior correspondent Jonathan Gatehouse.

The subtitle of the book is: How Gary Bettman Remade the League and Changed the Game Forever. Gatehouse traces the rise of Bettman from the No. 3 man at the National Basketball Association to an iron-fisted leader who is presiding over his third lockout in 18 years in what appears to be a futile effort to save the owners from themselves.