The NHL lockout roller coaster took another uphill turn on Wednesday. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly went on Hockey Night in Canada Radio and was asked directly about the status of the season. He was asked, "Yes or no, do we have a season?". He responded with a clear "yes".
In all honesty I cannot believe he said such a thing. Especially since the league and the players union haven't had formal meetings in over a week, and have no future talks planned. What makes this even more hard to believe is that he would openly speak optimism about there being a season. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman scolded NHLPA leader Donald Fehr early in December after saying the two sides were extremely close and that a deal was in sight. Bettman came right out and said it was irresponsible of Fehr to "give the fans false hope" about the status of lockout. How mad must Bettman be now, when a member of his own side does almost the exact thing today? The comments made by Daly on Wednesday were completely hypocritical of their own side. He has to be smarter than that. He has to know people, fans, and media are going to take this as the possibility of deal getting done soon. The fact is, the sides are close. But the clock is ticking, and ticking fast.
This is just the latest in the annoying joke that has become this lockout. The fans have been given so much false hope over the last few months. I really can't wait to see fan reaction when this is all over. Personally, I won't go to a game for quite a while. 2 lockouts in 8 years are a joke. The fact that the sides are so close, yet not meeting is a joke.
It seems like Don Fehr is waiting until the 11th hour to make a deal. The NHL has said it won't do less than a 48-game schedule. So if you do the math right, that puts a mid-January start date to get 48-games in by the end of April. That means they better make some serious headway in the last week of December and first week of January, with a tentative deal in place by no later than January 10th.
This saga is far from over. So until then, enjoy the World Junior Championships. I can't wait to see some hockey back on the television. All Team USA and Team Canada games can be seen on the NHL Network. Happy Holidays!