With 82 games off the table, it’s time for a deal

The deadline has arrived. Whatever that means. Based on the last serious round of CBA negotiations, the League had put a finger on today to come to an agreement on a CBA while still fitting in an 82-game season. The day has arrived, yet no agreement is in sight.



The NHL and NHLPA have spent more time on the PR battlefield rather than the board room after a fresh set of offers were rolled out a week ago in hopes of ending the most recent NHL lockout. While the NHL came all the way down to a 50/50 revenue split, there were wrinkles in their offer that still irked the players. That led to the inevitable counteroffer(s) from the PA which basically revolved around their desire to have pre-existing contracts paid for in full.

The NHL will withdraw their most recent offer but only to accommodate for a regular season that will have far fewer than 82 games.




For most fans, the offers introduced last week probably seem pretty black and white. The league is striving for a 50/50 split, while players still want to be paid the money they were promised when they signed their contracts. It is fairly basic when the big picture is considered. However, for the two sides remain far apart in a battle over a $3.3 billion pie and the 2012-13 season hangs in the balance.


Since the 82-game season is now on the shelf, understand that this doesn’t mean that the season is completely out of the question. All this means is that fans are likely looking at something closer to a 60 or 50-game season. Of course, the two sides need to actually sit down and have a real conversation. If they could suck up their pride, start with the 50/50 split and work from there, perhaps there would actually be room for a deal to be made.

To this point those words have been as empty as an Islanders home game. Now the only mission between the league and PA should be to ensure that hockey is played this year.  Continue reading

Conjecture department: Could a lockout benefit the Sabres?

Might this lockout be a good thing? Not for the game or fans, mind you; but for the season.

When I look at the Sabres past few seasons, there has been a significant lull in performance at some point. Whether that came at the beginning of the year (2010-11) or in the middle of the year (2011-12), the team has suffered from a drop off that ultimately cost the team wins and position in the standings.

Obviously last year’s mid-winter slump was centered around injuries and horrible play, but fatigue and the grind of the season likely had something to do with it. Since it seems as if a lockout is inevitable at this point, could it be somewhat beneficial for the Sabres to play a shortened schedule?

Perhaps a shortened season would allow for Buffalo’s offensive players to stay fresh over the entire course of the season. The same would go for the goaltending and defense. In fact, shortening the schedule could be massively beneficial for Ryan Miller, whose workload would potentially go from 60+ games to 40+ games. That is, of course, if Lindy Ruff utilizes Jhonas Enroth properly.

There are a few permutations here that serve as counterpoints to this train of thought. First, a shorter schedule would also cause the league to condense games into a smaller package in hopes of keeping the 2012-13 season to an adequate length. This will cause more back-to-back matchups and could potentially create more wear and tear on the players.

Secondly, every team will be playing a shorter schedule. Because of that, every team will reap the same benefits from trimming the schedule down from 82 games. It’s not as if the Sabres are tailor-made to sprint as opposed to finishing a marathon or gaining any sort of added advantage compared to the rest of the league. Continue reading