Today we have reached day 60 of the NHL Lockout for 2012-2013 season. Last week both the NHL and NHLPA meet on a regular basis trying to make some sort of progress in the negotiations process so that both parties involved are on the same page. Furthermore, both sides seem to be gaining some sort of traction with each passing day until Friday when Commissioner Gary Bettman used his famous tag line “We are still far apart.” As a fan myself, that is not something that moves things forward. In fact, it does the exact opposite which in short is very counter productive. The NHLPA’s biggest concern was the “Make Whole Provision”, meaning that the players want the owners to honor the current contracts that were made prior to the lockout. In addition to that particular concern were the issues regarding contracting rights for the players. The players have voiced their position that they want more flexibility in that respect, however the owners want to remain in full control of the contracting process. As Penguins Captain Sydney Crosby said “It’s a two way street.” Meaning that both parties are still not operating on the same page on this particular line item. Another line item that is still outstanding is the split of the HRR (Hockey Related Revenue) which we all know has still yet to be agreed on. The owners have indicated that they want a 50-50 split of revenue sharing immediately however the players want it to be phased in with HRR reaching a 50-50 split by year three. Much like the “Make Whole Provision”, this outstanding issue is one where both parties can’t agree on as well. Since the so called collapse that happened over the Veterans Day Weekend, both parties have not set a date to meet again to continue the bargaining process. Overall, the longer this stalemate continues the worse it will get for the game that has grown so much since the last lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-2005 NHL Season.
****My question is to fellow hockey fans out there, is it time for a mediator to step in and assist with speeding up the negotiations process and get a deal done for a shorten season to begin in December?****