The 2004 NHL Lockout is still fresh on the mind of every hockey fan, and with the NBA currently poised to miss more than just the two already-canceled weeks of their season, the fears that this could happen to the NHL again in the near future are palpable.
After all, it's been just six years since the NHL canceled their entire season, and both the league and the NHL Players Association proved then that they'll stand their ground in labor negotiations. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of the 2011-12 season, and if an agreement isn't reached by next September, hockey could be in a very familiar situation next fall.
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr was on Sirius Satellite Radio on Wednesday, and he said he expects talks with the league to begin sometime near the NHL All-Star Game in late January.
Obviously, Gary [Bettman] and I have talked about this -- not at great length, but on a number of occasions. And if we start say a month or so after the All-Star Game or a little bit before that, we'll still have nearly half a year before the agreement expires to try to reach an agreement.
What we're in the process of doing on our end is making sure that we've got all the facts together that we need, that we've communicated to the players, that if we need further information from the league that we ask for it over the next several weeks. Then digest it, and be in a position to both evaluate the current agreements and make proposals on our own and to respond to the owners proposals.
Fehr was the head of the MLBPA when baseball players went on strike in 1994, so that's not something that sits well with hockey fans either. Regardless, its good to hear the process and that things are in motion. Let's make this agreement nice, swift and easy, alright boys?