With the NHL and NHLPA rejecting each other's latest offers, and news that all 30 owners, including J.P. McConnell voted to lock out the players, it seems like hockey is off the table for the next weeks, perhaps months, perhaps even the entire year. With no talks scheduled before the CBA expires at midnight, there's little chance that someone will break the stalemate.
Gary Bettman says he's sorry, and he should be, but the fact remains that this is lockout #3 under his watch. The NHL board of governors have allowed him to make locking out the players a standard operating tactic instead of a move of last desperate resort. It's disgusting, frustrating, and shows no signs of changing as long as he satisfies the long and short term goals of the men who own the clubs.
Backhand Shelf points out that some players would probably take the latest offer because they'd rather play than lose more of their careers. Many who might have hit career milestones will lose that opportunity. Perhaps guys who might have given one more push for a Stanley Cup will never see the chance - and if, as expected, things are going to get even uglier in negotiations, it's possible that we'll see another year disappear into the sand.
But they aren't being hurt half as much as fans who have been betrayed yet again, or the team employees who are already staring down far worse salary cuts than the players - and who would have made far less money even if the season had started on time.
Puck Rakers offers a look at who will be playing in other leagues, and we can expect that list to grow. Union Blue gives you a look at prospects in Europe and the CHL. #CBJ suggests checking out OSU hockey instead.
But these are placebos. They aren't what we wanted to see. They aren't what we hoped to watch. They won't bring an all star game to Columbus to help offer the repeatedly bloodied yet unbowed fanbase a moment of glory.
It's not what we deserve. But it seems it's what we'll get.
Back at the Union Blue, the Coach has some ideas about expectations, Puck Rakers offered a James Wisniewski report card, and Burnside Carbine offered thoughts on Mark Letestu's potential and the bottom D slots.
Here at The Cannon, we'll try to keep the lights on and offering thoughts for you regardless of what the NHL as a whole does. Here's hoping we won't have to wait too long before we can get back to talking about the game we love, instead of the game we aren't seeing played.