First of all, I should have said this over the weekend: Happy Chanukkah!
As for your favorite team in your favorite sport, well, here we are in the second week of December steamrolling toward the drop-dead date, whenever that is … and, truly, it’s still probably a few weeks away, and there’s no reason to believe the owners will agree to a deal before that without complete capitulation.
That said, if these owners think they are going to divide-and-conquer these players, if they think they’re going to get the union to splinter at this point, they are sadly mistaken. I don’t see that happening at all, and another 700 or so player paychecks go down the toilet next Saturday. They hired Don Fehr for a reason, and they won’t turn on him, and they won’t try to get a deal without him.
Going back to the drop-dead date, whenever that is … only then will we learn if the players and owners can actually bend a little, move toward the middle, on what are obviously the key remaining issues here — despite that the Lockout Commissioner in his little snit-fit said that everything else was off the table. Ridiculous.
Those issues are the max length of contracts, and Bill Daly called it “the hill we die on” … and the term of the new CBA, if there is one. The owners want a 10-year deal with an eighth-year opt-out, the players want a shorter deal, and that, to me makes zero sense. The sooner this new CBA, if there is one, expires, the sooner we get to the next lockout and more givebacks by the players.
As for the max contracts thing, the owners are sure set on five years. Wow. That’s going to take a big move for the players to get there. And, of course, the owners wouldn’t need that limit whatsoever if they could just stop themselves from doling out the idiotic contracts they’ve front-loaded these last few years in every attempt to circumvent the salary cap, which was what the last lockout was all about. Duh.
Anyway, the two sides spoke over the weekend and I expect they will meet again this week, and I predict there won’t be a deal because of those two issues. Not yet. I also expect more cancellations, maybe today. We’re headed for the drop-dead date. And then we will have hockey.
ps, thanks to all who followed me on twitter this past week. Picked up a lot of followers and it is much appreciated. If you haven’t yet, please do: @RangersReport.