How much longer? Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Is The NHLPA Beginning To Tip Their Cards?

It was only a couple weeks ago when it seemed like the NHL and the NHLPA were at least on the same negotiating page. Finally, the NHL offered a 50/50 split. The players balked at the idea, and then the league got their feathers ruffled and pulled the deal from the table.

For the last week or so, we remain in this sort of holding pattern. Nothing seems to be getting done, I haven’t heard of any meetings scheduled, and there’s certainly no one talking about playing hockey. At least, not in the NHL.

A couple of days ago, we get this.

Well hello, Jack Johnson.  Granted, Johnson isn’t Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, but he’s not exactly an eighth defenceman either.

In a full 2012-13 season, Jack Johnson is scheduled to pull in 3.5M.  That’s not exactly gumball money, it’s a significant amount of dollars for the Blue Jacket defenceman.

Johnson understands that he’s not going to be a pro hockey player until he’s “60 or 70″, and he also values the fact that he’ll never get back the games that are cancelled.  He’s also a bit upset about how owners signed contracts that they (apparently) had no intention of honouring.  All valid points, whether you side with him or not is another story.

If Johnson is beginning to sweat, isn’t it right to assume a guy like Lennart Petrell or Darcy Hordichuk is really sweating it out?  Think of all the guys who aren’t scheduled to make $3.5M in a season.  Take a guy like Brad Boyes, who signed a one year, $1M deal with the Islanders in an effort to get his career back on track.  I can’t imagine he’s taking this lockout very well.

Now, add Donald Fehr admitting that the players ‘are frightened’, but that a bad deal won’t be accepted.  Ruh roh.

What does this all mean?  Unless the players brought a bag lunch that’s bigger than anyone expects, they’ll be the first ones to blink.

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