Friday, February 04, 2005

NHL TALKS GO ON AND ON

Still looking at these NHL talks. The longer it goes, the better it gets. The patient may live after all. A couple of days ago some radio station in Edmonton declared the season dead and were preparing for a big mock funeral on the weekend. But I think that was premature and I have refused to make any sort of declaration as long as these two sides have kept talking and scheduling meetings.

The situation, though, as dire as its been, has up until now been salvagable. That will not be the case much longer. I have to think both sides have all finally buckled to the pressure and realized, hey, we could really be on the brink of hurling ourselves off the cliff by killing the entire NHL season. They realize that the NFL season is finally ending and that, you know, there's no excuses left for them, they'd better get their game on TV to fill the time between now and baseball season, or else no one will be back in October. So the real drop-dead day was Super Bowl Sunday, all along. We should have all known.

I sense these guys are gonna come up with some kind of a compromise today. Philosophically they are far apart, but maybe there's a way around that. Maybe instead of a 6-year deal it's a 3 year deal. Maybe they raise the payroll range and move off of linkage. And maybe all that talk about saving the small market teams will prove to be hot air in the end, and the mid-market teams might be the ones who sell out the small-market losers like Edmonton and Pittsburgh to get a deal done for the entire league. In which case fans in Canada may end up hosed in the end, but never mind. Looks like it'll be a compromise that satisfies few people and solves none of the league's problems, which gets some truncated, tainted season going. Better luck improving the game some other time. Maybe they'll bring in shootouts next season.

If this is what is transpiring today I should make sure I never listen to the sports media in Canada ever again on labour issues. All those people who said neither side would compromise, that one side would steamroll the other by cancelling an entire season, would all be dead wrong and prove to me again that they have no clue about labour negotiations and how they are conducted.

It's about time, though, that these guys finally felt the pressure to get something done. You would have thought they would have felt this pressure earlier, but now this is truly it. It's like doing absolutely nothing on a university essay until the night before you need to hand the darn thing in, after being granted extension after extension. That's how these guys are handling this labour negotiation. Never fails. The habits you learn in university stay with you for life.

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