NHL Negotiations Reach Dead End

CHICAGO - MAY 03: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks at a press conference before the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The NHL decided to dismiss the NHL Players Associations initial proposal today.

Some hockey fans are starting to experience that familiar, grave feeling they felt in 2004-2005 when they and the entire NHL endured the lockout.

Today enforced some of those feelings.

The NHL decided to dismiss the NHL Players Associations initial proposal today, then the NHLPA boss, Donald Fehr, set off to Chicago for pre-scheduled meetings with players.

Fehr will not return to Toronto in attempts to resolve a future CBA until Aug. 22. Fehr did indicated that he and Bettman will be talking by phone during his trip. It still only gives the two sides 24 days to reach a new agreement, find common ground, and avoid another lockout.

To most, that's a grim outlook to the future of the NHL, the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.

When two sides have such different views, less than a month doesn't seem like even close to the amount of time needed to reach an agreement.

However, just on Tuesday the players were responsible to offering fans a more optimistic outlook on possibly getting a deal done.

That's what the players have been responsible for doing throughout this entire process. If anyone has shown they want a deal done, it's the players. Their initial proposal they presented to Gary Bettman and the NHL was not a one sided deal. If anything, it tailored more to the owners than it did to the players.

But, the League shot that down immediately less than 24 hours later.

From today's standpoint, if the league shuts down for the 2012-2013 season, blame should be on anyone but the players. The players are the proactive ones in this process. They have showed more flexibility to get a deal done and to avoid a lockout.

Sound familiar? The players did that in the 2004-2005 lockout. They gave in to the owners, just to make sure there was a season in 2005-2006. The owners won now, will they again?

All fans can do is wait. Wait nervously to see if their lives will be the same again.

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