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Monday debate: will there be a season?

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The CBA haggling continues and lockout lingers, so it's time to face the ultimate question:

Will they play hockey in the NHL this season?

There are some who believe the NHLPA's Don Fehr is willing to sacrifice the season, if need be, to get the right deal. Others say Fehr knows how far he can push, that the players want to play and that there will be hockey this year.

What do you think? A nuclear winter or eventually a season?

The floor is open.


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Neither side really

Neither side really understands the magnitude of the damage inflicted this time around to the game and the fan base.  They will eventually understand and definitly will be licking their wounds when they see that overall revenue number decline not increase.  The NHLPA and the owners really still think they are living in 2005 and believe the fans will be back in droves once this lock-out is over...but the reality is a good portion of the middle of the road NHL fan base has had enough and will find other things to spend their money on.  Both sides took their fans for granted yet again and in the end the HRR pot will be smaller, the league will be weaker and the NHLPA and the owners will wonder how on earth they became the 13th most popular sport on the map...






If Fehr keeps demanding that not only current contracts be honored (fair and reasonable) but demands guaranteed raises in subsequent year we will not be getting any agreement.  No way in heck the owners will guarantee future pay raises to the player.  It'll happen anyway if the league continues to grow--which is now starting to be injured--so why fight for bogus guarantees??  What job applicant asks for guaranteed future raises before he's even hired?

And now it seems like Fehr has introduced the NHL paying the players in full for this season, even if they don't get 82 games in....That also isn't going to happen.  They'll get a pro-rata share and that's it.  I understand his point that the NHL locked out the players, but the players have as much blame--they were asked to start negotiating over a year ago.  They never started.  Yes the NHL initial offers were BS, but the players never moved off of theirs either.

I've already cancelled my NHL Center Ice for this year, and if things go south and there's no season I'm not getting it in the future.  I don't live close to an NHL team and only attend 1-5 games per year of the Canes and it's a 3.5 hour drive.  I will not be making that this year even if they come back.  I know most fans will come back, but many will not, and that means less income and slower growth...

Both sides are holding out, losing money and fighting for a smaller pot the longer they don't come to an agreement and neither side seems to get the losses are getting biggger than the amounts they are both holding out on currently...

...and that's just DUMB.

It's clear they're close to

It's clear they're close to an agreement. Talks would have broken off last week if either side didn't see progress.

Starting the season Dec 1 is entirely possible and hopefully we'll see a 60-65 game season.

The ASG would be eliminated in favor of scheduling more games and the season may extend into May if needed.

Good luck with that, if the

Good luck with that, if the Cup finals are in mid-June and a warm-market team is involved. They'll be skating on slush. I don't think there is an arena in North America, including PNC, that can maintain adequate ice when outside temperatures are 100F.

Ice seemed..

to be in pretty good condition when the 'Canes played Detroit in the '02 Finals here.  I recall it being in the 90's temperatire wise.

the Ice was good in 06 too

The RBC Center (now the PNC Center) ice crew did a very good job both in 2002 and in 2006.  I don't remember the last date of the 2002 finals, but the 06 Cup was raised on June 19th and it was  pretty warm outside, yet I don't remember major complaints about the ice surface.

I hope you're right, but I'm

I hope you're right, but I'm not optimistic....

But what defines a "season"?

But what defines a "season"? If it's a 41-game minimum, Fehr and Bettman are up against the wall already. If they announced a settlement today, there would be only six weeks to begin play. At something less than 41 games, a "season" has less meaning -- just going through the motions in order to say that a season did happen and to put names on the Cup without rolling the dice. 

I don't agree

I think a 41 game season would be great!  Every game would have more meaning and you would see far less of teams going through the motions.  It would be great hockey.  The Stanley Cup Playoffs already marginalizes the regular season by including so many teams, but that does make the playoffs the event they are.  41 games would work for me!

None the less, Fehr does seem hell bent on getting his way.  His demands for a set amount of money for whatever season is played is insane!  He wants to define the number of games and how much money the players get as opposed to a percentage.  Again, Fehr is trying to insert himself as the defacto commissioner as he did in baseball.  I hope Bettman tells him to pound sand on this issue.  

Fehr may be strong, but I don't think the players will have the will to hold out for some of the things he wants to fight over.

We don't disagree. All I'm

We don't disagree. All I'm saying is that to play 20 games -- just to pick a number -- and call it a "season" is hogwash.  

Both sides have their heads firmly planted

where the sun don't shine.  Nonetheless, I will stick by my prediction I made when the owners made their initial proposal back in July:  hockey will start around the first of the year. But if they don't get their collective act together and remove their heads from where they are now, the season could go down the drain.

People seem to think Fehr's

People seem to think Fehr's more interested in himself than in his players.  Bettman has already shown he doesn't mind losing a season.  Sounds like a recipe for another lost season.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.