Just like that there is a tiny step forward.
About damn time.
After two weeks of what I can only imagine was the most astounding game of phone tag the NHL and NHLPA have finally agreed on something. Sure it was smaller matters, but if neither side is willing to completely reevaluate their stance on the high dollar issues then it only makes sense to make progress where you can.
It’s almost fitting for this time of year; the two sides seem more and more like a bunch of kids fighting over Halloween candy. First they sort it into piles: one full of disgusting orange wrapped toffee and candy corn, one complete with mini chocolate bars, suckers, caramels and rockets and the final, towering pile containing a glut of candy apples, full size bars and tootsie rolls.
Like foolish children both sides tried to start dividing up the biggest pile while secretly loading up their portion with all the Crunchies and Toblerones while leaving behind the empty wrappers to allow the other side get a whiff of what they think they can get. Both sides however are as suspicious as they are moronic and spotted the one-sided offers and moved quickly to reform the pile. This stems from the greed of the fat kids at the meeting, Bettman and Fehr, wanting everything on the table for their own while still wearing their guises of fairness and sharing.
Unable to evenly split the highly desired pile under the critical eye of mother media they have taken a step back, moved to the second pile. Sure enough after a single meeting this pile is all but split, albeit with one of the fat kids out of the room. This agreement is as redundant as it is important. Sure, both sides showed an ability to communicate and come to an arrangement both sides could live with but in the end the only real point of contention is the division of the biggest pile.
For this pile to finally get split up there is one obvious outcome: the Bettman side will get the lion’s share. They hold all the cards and anyone who says differently is kidding themselves. Last time around the Owners had no problem losing a year while the NHLPA cracked.
The third and final pile will always be there and will never be fought over. Both sides know where it is, but neither cares about it. Both sides regard this pile with superiority and disdain. It will remain sitting out of the picture, ringing the debaters yet ignored by both sides until they need to rally support for another lopsided proposal. Neither the PA nor the NHL will deal directly with this pile as they assume it will always be there, neglecting the fact that without this distasteful pile the other two would not even exist.
As Bettman said, “We recovered last time because we have the world’s greatest fans.”