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BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL is locked out, but the players and owners are scheduled to resume talks on a new CBA on Friday.
The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Wendesday, and although it’s good the two sides will begin talking again, it might be awhile until we see NHL hockey again.
“For me, if you look at 2004, you can probably find some optimistic points to compare it to this time around. I think things were so polarized last time they weren’t talking at all. This week, they had kind of an insularity meeting about the definition of hockey revenue, which is part of the big issue here,” said Proteau. “But I think both sides, particularly the owners, are trying to wait each other out; to wait until the season should have started and paychecks should be rolling in.”
“It will probably take another couple of weeks until we really start to see the pressure applied,” he said. “Things are getting heated. But not even the NHL is dumb enough to cancel a second season for the second time in eight years, especially with the public sentiment is rallied around players this time.”
With no hockey stateside, many players are heading overseas to get some playing time in, hoping to stay in shape when (and if) the season gets underway.
“I don’t blame the players at all at this stage for trying to find any king of leverage (against the owners),” said Proteau. “You have to stay in shape hoping the season will start and these guys will come to their senses…. They train all season long and to sit back now and go to a couple of morning skates isn’t going to fit in the big picture for them.”
One target date for the season to get underway will be the Winter Classic, held at Michigan Stadium between the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s day.
“I think that’s going to be a leverage point,” said Proteau. “When you think of the momentum that event has created for the league, and how it’s become a marquee moment for them, you’d think it would be insanity for them to cancel it or postpone it for another year.”