Well, representatives from the NHL and NHLPA- not Bettman or Goodenow, though- met again today at a hotel near the Toronto airport amid wild rumors that a deal was about to be struck. There was a report that the Phoenix Coyotes were telling players to stand by for training camp within the next 7 days. And there was another report of a deal on the table for 6 years total length of time.
But finally the two sides broke off their meetings and said that there were still "philosophical differences" that kept the two sides far apart. And so, so much for that. There's still no hockey, dammit!! It's freezing cold today across southern Ontario, and there's no bleeping NHL hockey to watch in this freezing hockey weather! No wonder the fans are angry and frustrated, and furious that these guys still won't come to their senses.
For the last couple of days it looked as if common sense had finally entered the picture. Both sides were talking, they agreed to meet again, and they again talked some more. But in the end there's still a big gulf on the salary cap issue. I keep listening to Bill Watters on 640Toronto and he is convinced that Bob Goodenow has completely misread the owners, and why don't these players simply give up and concede already because the owners will never give in and the players will get stuck with a salary cap anyway. It'll only get worse for the players the longer they are out, so the argument goes. So why not simply come back and make your millions?
That's what a LOT of people are asking. But there's still no deal done. And they're STILL far apart. As long as the philosophical differences are there we'll NEVER get a deal done.
You know, I think we may not have seen the end of the talks, though. The fact that Trevor Linden and Ted Saskin sat down with the NHL brass for a couple of days was a positive development. They know each other VERY well by now and you would hope they could go back and sit down and think of what ideas they could come up with to settle this dispute within the next few days. So I'm still not ready to concede the season yet. I know a lot of people conceded the season last week when Bob Goodenow told the players to pack their bags for Europe, but I thought maybe that move might kickstart some kind of talks and they have. Now I want to see if there are any more talks. You have to think that maybe SOMETHING more is going to happen. Maybe.