Just hours after saying St. Louis Blues fans should not expect a mid-January start, the league actually got it’s butt into gear.
If I knew all it takes to get the St. Louis Blues back onto the ice for some games would be to call out the NHL, I would have done it weeks ago. That’s right, you can thank me later for getting to it eventually.
In all seriousness, just hours after posting an article saying Blues fans, and hockey fans overall, should not hold their breath for a January 15 start, the league and the players association asked someone to hold their proverbial beer. They got their act together and the ball is now rolling.
While there are still hurdles to jump and snags to avoid, the league and the union seem to have returned to the same page. Now, it’s about ironing out the details.
The interesting thing is the wording chosen by many of the articles detailing the latest update. Almost all of them discuss how the NHL and the PA have “cleared their financial hurdles“.
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However, it seems they have just stopped quarreling over something previously agreed to and returned to the original idea of the CBA decided upon last summer. The owners wanted the players to put more into escrow and the players said fine, but we want several concessions, to which the owners rolled their eyes and said never mind about the entire thing.
That is not exactly creating a warm and fuzzy feeling about the relationship between the two, but fans don’t really care. If it means we are one step closer to seeing hockey during cold months, so be it.
As of right now, technically, I was right about the January 15 date. The NHL told me to stick it and moved the potential start date up to January 13 now.
According to different sources, the NHL is now trying to formulate a plan similar to the NBA where individual teams would get “stimulus checks” to help cover operational costs. This seems odd since the perception is the league is not much better off than the teams, but if it helps them re-hire furloughed employees, so much the better.
Of course, the original article could still prove to be correct. The board of governors and the NHLPA’s executive board must approve all the details. Boston’s owner, who was the one we need to worry about sticking a wrench in any plans already, is head of the board of governors.
So, we will see. For now, we know they have a start date in mind and temporary divisional realignment will be for real. Outside of that, it all has to still be negotiated. Something is better than nothing though.