Last week, due to the NHL lockout, the league canceled its best regular season event of the season, as it pulled the plug on the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which would have been played in freezing temperatures in front of 100,000 people at the University of Michigan. That should have been one of the coolest – literally and figuratively – sporting events of our lifetimes, and instead it’s just a memory rattling around like a BB in the tin can that is Gary Bettman’s head.
Today at 3:30 PM ET, the owners and players union will resume talks, and people seem to be buzzing about the possibility of the NHL saving half of its season, much like the NBA did last year. But for a reminder, let’s turn to TIME’s Keeping Score for a recap of what it will take to get these guys back on the ice.
Following the path created by the National Football League, where the owners now get 53% of revenues, the NHL owners have been relentlessly trying to increase their share of the league’s total revenues. The players were getting about 57% of revenues. The owners demanded 54%, which is eminently fair if you believe people go to ice hockey games to watch owners. You could see why a lockout ensued. On October 18 the players agreed to a 50-50 split—a pay cut, in other words— and a couple of ways to get there. It took NHL commissioner Gary Bettman minutes to reject them, breathlessly improving his position as the most destructive commissioner in sports. He presided over the loss of the 2004-5 season—albeit with some mutually destructive help from the players union.
USA Today’s hockey writer Kevin Allen penned an optimistic piece about today’s latest effort, and I mean that it’s optimistic if you own an NHL franchise. Basically, he opines that the players are going to lose, which is pretty obvious. These guys have to be desperate for some paychecks already. All that Molson ain’t going to buy itself.
How much they lose will still be up to Donald Fehr and the NHLPA’s special counsel, Steve Fehr, who had a total bro down with deputy commissioner Bill Daly over the weekend. Of course, all they did was outline what both sides aren’t agreeing on, so they could agree to meet today to get back to negotiations. So if you’re keeping track at home, the only progress has been that both sides have agreed to keep negotiating.
In conclusion, here’s a video of the L.A. Kings Ice Crew.