Guess who’s back? + Players & Owners meet + Behind the Green

Guess who’s back? Yes, its me. I’m sorry for disappearing! I’m still here! A crazy work schedule of multiple 6 day work weeks has kept me from having time to work on my blog! Even though I was absent from the world of blogging I have been quietly keeping up with the CBA meetings as they have continued. So without further ado, lets get right down to business.

Let’s review the last few weeks. Bettman and company[well mostly Bettman] wanted to take a long break from CBA talks but alas meetings were resumed a few short days later. Just as progress seemed to be around the corner, talks stopped abruptly and once again all progress was put on hold. Then came Black Friday. Black Friday, indeed as Bettman cancelled the All-Star game and all the activities that come with it, as well as all games prior to and on December 14th. So to recap…Bettman announced the lockout as official midnight of September 15th and has cancelled the 2012 pre-season, all regular season games between October 11th and December 14th, the 2013 Winter Classic and the 2013 All-Star Game. In response to each cancellation more and more players have gone overseas to seek playing opportunities as the season has slowly faded away. Along with more players leaving following each announcement, more and more players are speaking out in regards to the lockout. At first the players seemed cautious to speak their minds publicly, but as time wears on, more are willing to publicly voice their frustration. Teemu Selanne called out Bettman shortly after the lockout began, Bobby Ryan called out the players who have opted to play elsewhere[until he too decided to play overseas!], a healthy Sidney Crosby though frustrated at the longer the lockout keeps him off the ice has been a steadfast part of the ongoing negotiations, and the ever calm Canucks Captain Henrik Sedin has added his voice of frustration in the direction of the owners.

On December 1st, there was a new approach to the more than 80 day lockout problem. The NHL and the NHLPA agreed to an owners + players only meeting. The meeting involved 6 owners, 18 players, Bill Daly[Bettman’s right hand] and Steve Fehr[Donald’s brother]. Among those players is said to be captains, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews. That meeting took place YESTERDAY and lasted for more than 8 hours with BOTH sides stating that the day was constructive…..only to resume again this morning following the Board of Governor’s meeting. It is also expected that following the meetings, Bettman will address the media [it was announced this evening that BOTH Bettman & Fehr would keep quiet on the outside as the two sides exchanged proposals]. It is being speculated that THIS round of meetings will massively impact the future potential of the season being re-instated. The speculation is that should these meetings and Bettman’s media address result in a new deal than there could be potentially 56-60 regular season games on the schedule. That is merely speculation at this point as the meetings are still in progress and we will not know one way or another until they address the media this afternoon. Perhaps this different approach will the key to solving the CBA problem, only time will tell but it is interesting to know that both sides have called these owners/players meeting constructive and having traction in the right direction. How does one solve the 2012 CBA conundrum? Perhaps yesterday and today’s meetings will hold part of the answer…but it is going to take movement on both sides to bridge that gap that has always remained.

Some fans have given up on the NHL and say that they will not return to the game should it return this season or not until next. All I know…all I want for Christmas is to see my Canucks and 29 other teams back on the ice. Regardless of when the NHL returns…I will be still be a fan of the game and my team.  #EndTheLockout #Hockey4ChristmasPLEASE #TimetoBringHockeyBack #56isthenew82

In other news Canucks fans….those pesky Green Men are at it again[come on you know you love them…okay so maybe some of you can’t stand them…but I think they are great fans!] They have released “Behind the Green” Part 1…and you just know that it will be hilarious. Don Taylor does the introduction. The book is released just in time for the holidays and will make a great gift for any Canucks fan your Christmas lists!…just follow the link below!

In regards to the owner and players continued meeting, this afternoon’s media conference with Bettman will be more revealing in regards to the potential of hockey returning this season or not. Fingers crossed that this time REAL progress can made and not just a proposal.Is 56 the new 82? Can both sides meet in the middle and together create a CHRISTMAKKUH miracle…starting a season by Christmas? We shall see! As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

Fans around the globe are holding their colllective breath as all eyes on are the NHLPA as they are expected to respond to the NHL’s 50/50 offer in today’s Toronto meeting. Today marks possibly the most significant stage of CBA negotiations. Today either the NHLPA will accept the new deal [with a tweak or two to insure that 50/50 really means 50/50!] or the debate continues. Rumor has it that BOTH sides are bringing in the big guns..for the players that group will consist of 18 players, including: Crosby, Toews, Doan, Iginla & Eric Staal. The meeting is now expected to take place at 11:30AM Pacific time[2:30PM Eastern time]. I hope that whatever the discussion that occurs between the two sides…that they come to an agreement that BOTH can live with and gets the players back on the ice November 2nd! #endthelockout

Perhaps one hopeful fan[Barry Murphy] has captured it best with his desperate attempt to get an audience with Fehr & Bettman. Perhaps this sign he brought will capture their attention or perhaps his twitter handle @hockeyfansunite will rattle them? good luck Barry!!

Desperate times make for desperate measures…one hockey hungry fan was camped out early at the NHLPA offices in Toronto this morning with this sign…calling Gary Bettman & Donald Fehr…can you hear us???

Here’s hoping that the meeting today actually produces a new deal with 82 games having been cancelled already…a season starting on November 2nd would secure an 82 game schedule for EACH team! #endthelockout #wewanthockeyback

Until this afternoon’s meeting wraps…hockey fans everywhere will all be anxiously waiting to hear the result. Will we get a full hockey season beginning November 2? Lets get this deal signed, sealed and delivered ….and now we wait. Back to you, Gary and Donald. #fingerscrossed

Until next time which is hopefully later today and we get that long awaited announecment of #hockeyreturning, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. Congratulations to Zack Kassian & company in leading the Chicago Wolves to their 3rd WIN of the season! Those pesky #wolves are now 3-0 on the year…good luck in Abbotsford this weekend…#GoWolvesGo

Players plan ahead +CBA talks continue + Hockey is more than a game

The ever pressing possibility of a lockout has many NHL players looking to ‘back-up plans’. Rumor has it that Evgeni Malkin is in talks with various KHL clubs looking into playing in a ‘week-by-week’ set up in the case of a lockout which would allow him to return to the NHL should the lockout be short-term. Steven Stamkos and teammate Martin St.Louis have reportedly considered playing in Europe in the event of a lockout and they believe that should the lockout be an extended one that other NHL players will also look to Europe. The players do want to lose a year of playing hockey due to being locked out. No one wants the lockout to happen but in the event of one, most would like to keep themselves and their skills viable while the CBA situation gets sorted out.

CBA talks ended between the NHL and the NHLPA after 45 minutes with Fehr and Bettman simply stating that both sides would most likely meet again this afternoon. Fehr was going to update the players both in NYC and those who could not be there on the outcome of this morning’s meeting. Bettman and the NHL made a counter-proposal that they feel is significantly different then before…but the question remains how will the players see this new offer? Will they see it as a resolution or distrust the league once again? It reportedly is only for 6 years which means that in 6 years they will be right back in this square debating the same issues all over again. Mind you if both sides can finally find some common ground before the 15th, it wouldn’t matter the term of the agreement but rather it would just be nice to watch hockey once more.

Imagine hockey was never to be played again anywhere…in any league….can you picture it? I cannot picture it…now that I’ve fully embrace hockey and all its personality it is impossible to think it being never more. It will return whether it is on time, delayed for short-term or delayed in October 2013…but it will return eventually.

Rumor has it that the city of Glendale in Phoenix is pushing to extend their arena deal with the NHL for another month which would give Jamison the extra time he needs to get the final investors he needs in buying the Coyotes.

Rumor also has it the Detroit Red Wings are looking in to more than one defenseman to help fill the void left behind in Lidstrom’s retiring. They reportedly made a 2-year offer to Carlo Colaiacovo and expressed an interest in Michal Rozsival, Brett Clark and Mark Eaton. Lidstrom retiring has left a void in the strong Red Wing defence but it also presents the opportunity for someone to step up and do the unexpected.

The great thing about hockey is that every game allows a different player to showcase their unique ability and presents each player or team, the chance to rise above the expected. The under dogs take on the ‘supposed’ best and beat them soundly or a player that was never drafted becomes an all-out superstar. Each game[and each season] presents a new slate and you never know what might happen. You might have expectations for a game or series but somehow those always change with each game. A game might look like its finished and then suddenly in the final minute or final seconds your team TIES it…and then OT/and a shootout later determines that your team won a game that looked like a sure defeat. Or a player returns from an extended injury recovery…and plays like they never missed a game. Or the game that clinches a team’s playoff berth…the arena gets extremely animated. You see, there are so many great moments not just throughout the entire season, but within ONE game. It is about more than the x’s and o’s, it’s about how one single moment can change the way you view the entire game or how the game can unite fans around the world. PLEASE…let us have the WHOLE season Bettman, Fehr, Executives & Players. Get a deal done on time. The fans deserve the season not another lockout.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.