Here we go again.
As most people have their attention turned to turkey, family, and football, the National Hockey League and NHLPA will gather around the table for another round of CBA talks, with the hope that both sides can find common ground and end what has clearly become the silly season, and not the hockey season.
Yes, we are at the point where this lockout has sped right past stupid, and has reached silly.
There has been on “critical” point after another, (we apparently are at another critical point today), and we have now reached the point where the childish insults have been thrown around, because that always solves everything, right? From a player calling NHL commissioner Gary Bettman an “idiot” to another player saying Bettman and Bill Daly are “cancers,” (a term that should never enter any discussion and a word that went far beyond anything reasonable) we truly have reached the silly season.
So where do we go from here?
The one thing that has always been suggested to me is that cooler heads would emerge, and that common ground would ultimately be found. The idea has always been that it may take a couple months, but by Thanksgiving, we would be well on our way to playing hockey. But as we sit here today, watching our turkeys defrost in preparation for the feast that awaits 24 hours from now, the idea of hockey anytime soon seems a lot more like a dream than a reality.
Yet this past Monday, something happened that should give anyone that follows the Tampa Bay Lightning regularly hope. There were some new names inserted into the process of collective bargaining that call 401 Channelside Dr. home. The most notable of those names was Lightning forward Marty St. Louis.
There are plenty of reasons why this puts a tiny bit of optimism on the table. Look, we all know what St. Louis brings on the ice. He is the one that fights through all kinds of adversity and has made a career out of proving people wrong, to the point of becoming one of the stars in this league. As we sit here today, with no hockey and what feels like no hope of hockey on the horizon, isn’t that what this negotiation needs? Isn’t that never quit attitude that Marty St. Louis brings to the ice night in and night out exactly what this process needs right now?
I am in no way trying to suggest that St. Louis will go in to the NHL offices today and single-handedly save the season, but rather will likely bring a new enthusiasm to the process. St. Louis has spent a career proving people wrong, and it sure would be nice if he could play a part in doing it one more time on the biggest stage of all.