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The NHL collective bargaining talks scheduled for this weekend should not have been a beacon of hope for anyone paying attention. They were scheduled to discuss the issues outside the economic issue that is the root of the lockout. The talks were intended to find some common ground on which negotiations would be built. From all reports, that experiment was a failure.
Despite the Common Man Dan Cole tweeting that his sources told him the lockout will be over by Wednesday, that simply is not the case. The reporters that have sources deep inside the NHL are not reporting any movement at all, and certainly nothing that would end the lockout. In fact, two tweets should be enough to put the ticker tape away fro quite awhile.
If you weren't quite depressed enough about the situation, Russo followed that tweet up with another saying he believes the first week of the regular season will be canceled "by mid-week at the latest."
This is a now a situation where neither side is showing any urgency to get a deal done, discussions even on so called "minor" issues are not even producing results, and players are starting to take jobs overseas in growing numbers. This thing isn't going to get done anytime soon, hockey fans. No one seems to care much about that, either, to be honest.
Even the fans seem to be resigned to the fact that this gets worse before it gets better. With the Houston Aeros in town to start training camp, 1200 people were said to be at the Xcel Energy Center for the free scrimmage. That number was a bit high, and clearly lower than the thousands who turned out earlier this summer to watch the same players in the development camp.
Was it an affront to the owners? Did fans stay away to show the NHL that maybe they won't come back quite as readily as the league seems to think they will? A few fans sent that message, but the most telling sign is that the fans are just... gone. Silent. No complaining, no angry messages, they just left.
Which should scare the living bejebus out of the league.
There is a long, dark tunnel ahead, and if anyone is seeing a light, it is most certainly a train loaded with explosives that has derailed with toddlers trapped on board with a hungry tiger.
It's that bad. Enjoy your week.