We’ve passed the 100-day point of the NHL lockout, and there’s still no end in sight as the window of opportunity narrows for a labor settlement to be reached in time to play a 48-game season, the shortest that Commissioner Gary Bettman said would constitute a season with “integrity.”
At this point, though, the word “integrity” seems to have very little meaning in this dispute, which has alienated fans and taken money out of the paychecks of folks who work for teams and arenas.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday via email that no negotiations with the NHL Players’ Assn. have been planned for this week, dampening the slim hopes that a post-Christmas thaw could occur and bring with it a possible resumption of talks. The NHL has cancelled games through Jan. 14 and hasn’t set a “drop-dead” date for the season to be scrapped but common sense says that date is coming soon.
When an agreement is reached, it will take several days for each side to ratify the deal and a training camp of about 10 days would have to be conducted. Based on the Jan. 20 start date after the 2004-05 lockout--which was resolved in time for each team to play a 48-game schedule—a deal would have to be forged soon after New Year’s to get in 48 games without going into July.