With the NHL cancelling games until January 1st, it’s looking more and more like a 48-game schedule is the best that we’ll be able to do. There weren’t a whole lot of good feelings after last week’s blowup by Gary Bettman and Bill Daly. But I don’t think that all is lost.
Even after last week’s roller-coaster-leaving-the-track moments, I think we’re closer to a deal now than we were a month ago.
Don’t downplay the fact that Bettman and Daly looked pretty angry after last week’s update by Donald Fehr, but I would be pretty surprised if we didn’t see some movement towards a deal tomorrow. Why?
Roman Hamrlik just told me on nextsportstar.com that he would support the NHLPA taking a vote on the owners last offer.
— Josh Rimer (@JoshRimerHockey) December 11, 2012
Because Roman Hamrlik? Well, not just him, but because of guys like him though.
Roman Hamrlik is 38 years of age at the time of this post. Roman Hamrlik is also smart enough to know that he’s not going to play professional hockey for the next 20 years. Maybe 2 is more like it (and that could be a stretch). He’s got one year remaining in his deal with the Capitals, and he’ll be lucky if he can retrieve half of his salary this year if the sides ever reach a deal. Any deal he may receive after this year’s will likely be a one year at most. An entire season lost would be a pretty big hit to a guy with so few sunrises remaining in the league.
Think of guys like Andy Sutton. At 37, he’s in the same boat as Hamrlik, although Sutton’s sunrises are likely less than Hamrlik’s. Sutton has a one year deal with the Oilers, and he runs a real risk of being a ‘lockout casualty’ if this year never gets off the ground. I bet he’d sign just about any thing you’d put in front of him. How about Daniel Alfredsson? That guy just hit 40. Think he’d like to get a few more games in before calling it a career? How about Teemu Selanne?
We’re getting close to crunch time on the season. Yes, both sides could fart around for a few more weeks if they’d really like to cut it close, but progress has to be seen soon if both sides have genuine interest in saving the season. And, there are a significant amount of guys who are past the halfway points of their careers, some who are well into the homestretch. Knowing that time likely won’t stop anytime in the near future, you can bet that these guys want to get on the ice sooner than later.
Another reason? A few players have already pulled out of Europe. Claude Giroux and Tuukka Rask aren’t exactly marginal NHL players, and unless they’re celebrating an extended Christmas back home, you’ve got to think the planets might be starting to align.
At least, you’ve got to hope they’re starting to align.
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